Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

How would you make an Elric/MM Multiverse RPG?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How would you make an Elric/MM Multiverse RPG?

    I just finished reading Blue Rose Fast Play and I'm not impressed. It does have a few interesting components, but on the whole I found it to be contrived and uninspired. I understand what they're going for, just think their implementation is lousy. All throughout I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. I think it would make a lousy model to base Elric on. I think we can do a lot better.

  • #2
    As I mentioned before, a d20 mechanic has several advantages such as familiarity, compatibility with hundreds of existing products, and a built in market. I've followed RPG trends for the last few years, and have found that a few companies have flourished using the d20 system. The other companies who have been successful with other systems are those which have systems that have pre-dated d20, such as GURPS and Rifts. The only new system I have seen in recent times which has endured somewhat is Guardian of Order's Tri-stat system, and even they have been suffering financially as of late.

    This is the main reason why I would support an OGL system d20 variant is because of this. My main interest in the Blue Rose was the Damage save system, used in Mutants and Masterminds (quite successfully). It brings the system closer to a diceless system. The point I am trying to make is that you can customize this set of rules to something which you are comfortable with (meaning every SRD variant under the OGL, not just Blue Rose) and make something which is accessable to a pre-existing market.

    My main question would be, how would you plan to market a new system? Aside from a fanbase of Michael Moorcock fans who happen to be role-players, how do you propose to get others interested in it? With a d20/OGL based system you have the advantage that someone could buy a product, take it home and immediately start playing with their group. And the chances are, most groups already have used such a system.

    With a new game engine, you not only have to find an audience (aside from the aforementioned MM/RPG fans), you have to convince them that your product is interesting enough to buy (it helps if they are familiar with MMs work), you also have to convince them its worth their time to not only learn a new system but also worth their time to convince their gaming group that its worth their time to learn a new system and maybe be ready to play a game within a few days.

    There are also gamers which look at products for unfamiliar game engines as source material. To them, they see the product as something which would be useful, but only after spending countless hours converting it to something more familiar.

    Stormbringer has the advantage of being introduced into a market when it was much smaller, and as such had the advantage of little competition. Dragon Lords of Melnibone is published by the same company and despite being a d20 product, has made little impact on the market and as such has had a lack of continued support from Chaosium.

    So then, with all this considered, what you your proposed system be like, and how would you go about finding a market for it?
    Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

    Comment


    • #3
      I apologize if this sounds unfairly dismissive. You're basically using the same argument that WoTC does when they're trying to get people to license their system, and it's just not true. Rebuttals are all over the web, and most are probaly more eloquently phrased than I can manage.

      As for my own system, well, it depends. I'm still largely gathering info (much to my wife's chagrin. She thinks I'm just buying game books to spend money...). I'm still figuring out what kind of play I'd like to facilitate. I actually like Stormbringer 5th (even if there are some fugly mechanics), but I'm not opposed to something a little more free form.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have 4-5 pages of notes on my next game I could share with you. It's mainly a collection of ideas I think may work well together, not necessarily for Elric, though. It's a little much to just past here, but I can PM/email them to any who are interested.

        Comment


        • #5
          The point I was trying to make about OGL, is the fact that it can be used independantly of the d20 license. If you look at a game like Mutants and Masterminds, you will see that there is nothing referring to the d20 license. OGL is copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast, but the SRD is open for anyone to use. OGL makes no mention of paying royalties to WotC, nor needing to use their materials. The only stipulations are that you clearly indicate what materials are Open Game Content, what is considered Product Identity, and that you include this information in the OGL as well as the OGL itself.

          The reason why I am bringing up these questions to you, is that in your original post to MM, you stating wanting to make a proposal for a game system. From this, I inferred that you already had a business plan and marketting strategy in place.

          It might be fair to mention that MM has previously stated that he does not read unpublished works. So as a game designer, your best way to get him to send him a copy of one of your published works. Though that is probably irrelevant anyways, since any Elric related materials produced presently or in future will have to be licenced from Universal, who currently have the rights for Elric related products.

          As it stands, until the situation with Chaosium is rectified, a PnP venture is unlikely. However, as MM has also stated, their agreement extends to board games (pen and paper) games only. Licensing the property from Universal and publishing it as a PDF to be circulated electronically (from vendors such as RPGnow) are likely out of Chaosium's control.

          Like I say, I'd be interested in seeing your proposed mechanic. I started this thread for just the sort of thing. I'd like to see everyone's ideas, game engine and otherwise. There are quite a few people in this community, several of whom are role players, and it would be only fair to gain the perspectives of people who are actively involved in the community.
          Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chopper_Dave
            I have 4-5 pages of notes on my next game I could share with you. It's mainly a collection of ideas I think may work well together, not necessarily for Elric, though. It's a little much to just past here, but I can PM/email them to any who are interested.
            I see you posted this while I was replying. I'd be interested in seeing your proposal as mentioned before. My email address is [email protected] .
            Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

            Comment


            • #7
              HI!


              I think trying to make a RPG that covers all the multiverse's possibilities would be very hard, and I think pretty much unsubstantial and GM heavy.

              I like pretty much chaosium's system. It is quite simple and does not interfere with the story. It has some minor flaws, but they can be easily managed by the GM. In the run, every game I GMed shows many flaws that have to be corrected. THe worse in my opinion: shadowrun and gurps.

              Another thing which bothers me usually is magic. Its full of spells and rules that slow the game, that is why i like the demon and elemental summoning rules from Stormbringer.

              Not long ago I tried to design another set of rules for the SB game, but i left the proyect because of lack of feedback from others. I have some Ideas though. The use of only one die (preferably d20), a simple combat and magic system, and finally a very graphical character sheet, easy to understand at first sight and with a visual logic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kommando
                It might be fair to mention that MM has previously stated that he does not read unpublished works. So as a game designer, your best way to get him to send him a copy of one of your published works. Though that is probably irrelevant anyways, since any Elric related materials produced presently or in future will have to be licenced from Universal, who currently have the rights for Elric related products.

                As it stands, until the situation with Chaosium is rectified, a PnP venture is unlikely. However, as MM has also stated, their agreement extends to board games (pen and paper) games only. Licensing the property from Universal and publishing it as a PDF to be circulated electronically (from vendors such as RPGnow) are likely out of Chaosium's control.
                I really wanted to avoid this topic. Let me explain a few things. I don't like WW and I don't like Chaosium. That said, Chaosium is not engaged in copyright infringement; they are guilty of contract violation. WW is not engaged in copyright infringement; they have a valid contract with Chaosium. PDF products are in no way shape or form "electronic games." They are ebooks, that is, pen and paper books distributed via electronic means. This is a perfectly valid distribution method that does not require some special addendum to a pre-existing license. US Copyright Law is very clear on this.

                Don't get me wrong, I hope that Chaosium loses their license (because they've been real bastards thru this, not because I want to try and get it) and that WW has to remove the PDFs from DriveThru, but there is no law being broken.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I hope this won't be dismissed out-of-hand, and forgive me if I missed it in this thread, but what does everyone think of a GMless game? I don't have a concept, but I feel inspired by Magic The Gathering. Also, Pirates of the Spanish Main. Games where people bring things that have an agreed upon value and then role play with those, as opposed to strategizing with them. Even modules or RPG stories could have items secret to all parties. Just throwing this out, but a GMless game seems feasible, but certain aspects of RPGing would be different.
                  The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chopper_Dave
                    Don't get me wrong, I hope that Chaosium loses their license (because they've been real bastards thru this, not because I want to try and get it) and that WW has to remove the PDFs from DriveThru, but there is no law being broken.
                    Can you offer details on this comment? How do you know that DriveThru have to do this? Did they get a notice of some sort?
                    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The unpleasant one first: I'm not saying that WW/DriveThru currently has to remove the PDFs from their site, but that I hope they have to after Chaosium loses their license. I think it's pretty poor form for them to be offering those PDFs for sale right now while there's a contract dispute, but I also can't fault them for not knowing the specifics of that dispute. When I was working in Tech, I didn't call all the companies I had contracts with to make sure they had valid licenses.

                      The only reason the legality of PDFs comes into question is because of their cost of reproduction. If Ace Books goes out of business or loses their right to publish Starship Troopers, that in no way affects Amazon's right to sell pre-esisting copies. There's a difference between Publisher and Distributor. PDFs change that. When Chaosium loses their license, WW will no longer be able to sell PDFs (that I know of), but they will be able to sell any physical copies that already exist.

                      For the fun one, playing an RPG without a GM! That's a pretty interesting concept. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun if you had a group that had similar goals in role-playing. The real challenge I see would be players "usurping" control or taking the game in a direction that the rest of the group doesn't want to go in. I think Cohesion is the big thing that a GM brings to the table.

                      As far as implementing it...Perhaps http://www.indie-rpgs.com/reviews/29/ (Donjon) could serve as a useful base? One interesting mechanic it uses is that when a player wants something, he dices (bucket 'o dice) against the GM. For every success he gets one "Fact". If he got 4 successes, he could say that 1) there is treasure 2)in that chest 3) being guarded by three 4) sleeping orcs.

                      The GM then pipes up that you missed the Ogre-magi behind them. See, you can't discount a Fact, but you can work around it. The review (several more over at RPG.net) does a much better job explaining. It's actually a pretty adversarial game, but it's supposed to be a lot of fun in that it encourages you to twist the Facts as much as you can.

                      I understand it's a lot of fun to play Paranoia with Donjon mechanics. :D

                      For our purposes here I wouldn't necessarily say to twist them, par se, but we could have the players dice against each other. Whoever gets the most successes lays the groundwork, then they dice again to see who sets the next batch of Facts, etc. The goal should be to get each player to describe, as cinematically possible as they can, what's going on. Not sure how you'd minimize players taking you off on a tangent. Maybe some meta-game thing. If the whole group groans in the direction the "GM-player) is going, maybe he loses a Fact, while those who continue with the story gain one?

                      I see it as something that would be very draining. Not sure I'd want to play in the Multiverse with it, but it's definitely an idea that needs to be fleshed out (your idea, not mine).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Berry Sizemore
                        I hope this won't be dismissed out-of-hand, and forgive me if I missed it in this thread, but what does everyone think of a GMless game? I don't have a concept, but I feel inspired by Magic The Gathering. Also, Pirates of the Spanish Main. Games where people bring things that have an agreed upon value and then role play with those, as opposed to strategizing with them. Even modules or RPG stories could have items secret to all parties. Just throwing this out, but a GMless game seems feasible, but certain aspects of RPGing would be different.
                        In a multiversal setting this could work, to a degree. If you have a good group of people with a good set of imagination, then this could work quite well. Otherwise it is best to have some sort of referee.

                        Basically a GMs function is to act as narrator, instigator (sometimes), and to represent supporting cast as well as the antagonists. If you wanted to go a GMless route, then I would think the best way to do it would be to have a comprehensive set of encounter tables which not only set up encounters with others (friendly, unfriendly or neutral), but as well their motives. In essence, you would have to build the game so that it could be played as a solo adventure (by one person on his own).

                        I played in a long campaign lasting about seventeen years of real time, where out of four core members, three of us would alternate as GM. This was based on who happened to have an adventure ready at the time. The world was shared and co-created, and sometimes acted just as you suggested, being virtually GMless, since we were all very familiar with the rules. I've even had adventures where the GM had a character in the group (as an NPC), and he also played the antagonist, but at a crucial point his character had to act as a more active protagonist and I took over duties as the antagonist.

                        So basically, your idea represents the ideal of what a gaming group should be. However, groups are often less than ideal. This is due to several factors. For one, there is a good chance that one person is more familiar with the game engine, or mechanics aside, one person may have more ideas for storylines. So at least at first, there could be one dominant narrator, who should encourage the creativity of other members of the group so that they can take on narration duties when the time arises.

                        Also, the mechanics of the game should remain fairly simple. Combat, though essential in a game, should not be so complicated as to make it difficult for less mathematically minded people. For instance, you could go an effects based route where an action could obtain a certain result, varying from a bad failure, to failure, to undetermined, to success, to great success. The effects of this should be up to whomever has the greatest level of success. So if it was a combat, and you scored a kill or strong hit, you could determine just what effect that hit had (such as being imapaled, or burned or whatever). The effects should be determined based on the nature of the character involved (such as when the Rose used rose thorns to create multiple impalings in Gaynor, in the Mutiverse of MM graphic novel).

                        Tables comprising adventure seeds (encounters, motives, plot hooks, red herrings etc) could also be a good source of inspiration to less experienced gamers. This could be as simple as slay the dragon and recue the princess, or more complicated such as the princess being an evil sorceress who used the dragon as a ruse to draw the characters into her trap. Since this would merely be a guide, characters should be allowed and encouraged to think outside the box, especially if they can think of something better.

                        Settings can be fluid as well. You might have players who are familiar with worlds either withing MMs multiverse, or are inspired by other sources. Since this is a multiverse, this lends itself well. You might have one adventure in the Young Kingdoms because Bob has a good idea for such an adventure. On another adventure, Sally more familiar with Von Bek might want to take the characters into the Middlemarch. Greg (yes I am using arbitrary names) may have never read an MM novel, but might have a good knowledge of WWII, and may decide to place an adventure there. Also, since this is a multiverse, several adventures could happen on the same world but each world could be different in ways (like as in the Jerry Cornelius and Bastable Stories). Worlds might change from adventure to adventure, or remain the same based on who is playing and what they prefer.

                        Also, if the GMless idea is to be preferred, then decisions could be based on group concensus. I guess really that the game should have a narrator/referee/GM if one is needed, or be more free form if one isn't. In such a collective system, there should be room for voicing opposition if something doesn't resonate well, and if conflicts result in an impass some mutual means of resolution (such as the roll of a die) could decide who's idea prevails.

                        This might seem rather vague, but I am just tossing out ideas at this point. Since MMs works are story driven, rather than driven by setting, then there should be a certain amount of fluidity. The game engine itself should never take precidence over the mood of the game, IMO.
                        Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chopper_Dave
                          much stuff about this and that...
                          Well, I can see you have thought this out quite a bit. I would be interested in seeing your ideas on conflict resolution, so feel free to email me. I know I posted my email before, but to make things easier its [email protected] .
                          Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Berry Sizemore
                            I hope this won't be dismissed out-of-hand, and forgive me if I missed it in this thread, but what does everyone think of a GMless game? I don't have a concept, but I feel inspired by Magic The Gathering. Also, Pirates of the Spanish Main. Games where people bring things that have an agreed upon value and then role play with those, as opposed to strategizing with them. Even modules or RPG stories could have items secret to all parties. Just throwing this out, but a GMless game seems feasible, but certain aspects of RPGing would be different.
                            Berry, such a game exists on the market. It's called Universalis, and I haven't seen it or played it, but read a review one RPG.net that sounded pretty interesting. It ends up quite different from a typical gamemastered session of course, it's more of a story-building engine. What you are proposing actually sounds quite similiar, so you might want to check it out.
                            My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, great info and back and forth.

                              Please allow me to share :)

                              I have been off and on again working on 2 items: improving BRP
                              Stormbringer and making a really well done OGL version. Some of
                              my SB fixes will translate almost directly into an OGL d20 based
                              system. I have a tweaked sorcery system in the works that is
                              actually based on a d20 product. And, I am very satisfied with my
                              OGL combat - based on the system Mongoose's Conan RPG was
                              based on.

                              Chaosium is also working on their own revised BRP. It will incorporate
                              things from Runequest, Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu and Pendragon
                              amongst others. Maybe it will go OGL as well (although, it really
                              doesn't matter - you cannot copyright a game system/rules). It is
                              being written by Jason Durall, who wrote the d20 DLoM scenario.

                              Richard Watts (who worked on a lot of the Elric! material, which was
                              subsequently reused for SB5 and DLoM, has been doing a lot of work
                              in the same vein as the Elric! supplement Atlas of the Young Kingdoms,
                              volume 1. He may post it online some day, or convince Chaosium to
                              sell it as a monograph (there is already a Cults of Chaos monograph).

                              The Corum book by Darcsyde (for Elric! and Stormbringer) was very
                              well done (the sorcery system in it is much better than SB5's), and they
                              have a Hawkmoon book on the shelves.

                              That's about all the stream of consciousness I have now, but I will be
                              happy to share more later.

                              Ian
                              Diplomacy: The ability to tell someone to
                              go to hell so that they will look forward to
                              making the trip.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X