A Model

OK, first go read this.  It’ll take you 10 minutes or less, depending on your reading speed.  This is the kind of stuff RPGs need more of. 

And, my personal ideal campaign (edited to include more information):

Descriptive Rating:  Pragmatic-While I want a little more information than “you take N hit points”, I’m also not interested in graphic description in every single turn.  I’m happy if the dramatic things are carefully described, while normal hits are more like “he slashes you with his sword for N points”.
         PC Lethality:   Pragmatic-No one wants their character to die; I also don’t want it to be impossible.  Death happens in real life, so it should happen in-game too.  On the other hand, PCs are heroes and should be less likely to die than, say, I personally would be.

        Player vs. Player:  Moral (Pragmatic)-The PCs are heroes and shouldn’t be trying to kill each other off.  In the extremely rare case that there is serious intraparty conflict, I want some detail.
        Player vs. Game:   Pragmatic-Sometimes you have to do bad things when there are bad people around.  But the injury of complete innocents is verboten.  [The unborn baby that will become an incarnation of evil is, alas, not a complete innocent.]  Also, being nasty had better lead to some guilt.
        Game vs. Player:   Dark (Pragmatic)-The PCs are heroes; their antagonists by and large aren’t.  Hence, bad things can happen to the PCs if the antagonists are feeling mean.  I still don’t want huge amounts of detail, though; I’m fine with just brief description, dialogue and die rolls, unless it’s a climactic scene.
        Game vs. Game:    Dark (Pragmatic)-What I said above, doubled.  The description part is even a little darker since I’m more likely to be seeing results rather than actions, and I can deal with gory results a bit better.

        Conditions: 
                Before play begins, there will be agreement on subjects which are not to be brought up at all and subjects which are not to involve particular players. (That is, are we not to discuss rape at all because it is a sensitive topic for one player, or is it sufficient that that player’s character is never threatened with rape?)

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One Response to “A Model”

  1. Carrie Says:

    1. bn29 left…
    Thursday, 3 November 2005 3:25 pm

    This is excellent.

    I now have a way to describe my CoC intentions in a way that permits easy discussion and negotiation. 🙂

    Thanks!

    So, my CoC intentions:

    Descriptive Rating: Dark, almost Black

    CoC is horror. Descriptive, fill-your-imagined-senses-with-impossible-dread -and-stinking-malaise-horror, which I only hope I can do some partial justice with my ham-handed GMing. At the same time,

    PC Lethality: Between Pragmatic and Dark, leaning toward the latter

    The question is Dark’s “who will survive?”, but with uniformly careful and skilled play, the answer can (though it probably won’t) be everyone.

    Interactions:

    Player vs. Player: Moral (with possible Escalation to Pragmatic)

    The PCs are trying to prevent impossible horrors from destroying the world. In fact they might be the only (initially?) sane people who are even aware that the horrors exist. Players are generally expected to be reasonable to each other and cooperate in as much as their characters and the scenario allow. However, circumstances may arise in which

    Player vs. Game: Pragmatic (with possible Escalation into Dark)

    Players are trying to stop unimaginable horrors while holding on to their sanity. Performing incredibly deviant acts as a matter of course will destroy the latter right quick, but at the same time, sometimes it’s necessary to use a straight razor from your character’s toiletry kit to kill an almost-birthed and otherwise innocent infant (who will be the embodiment of an evil world-destroying god if born) while it’s still inside its mother. Sanity lost? Oh you bet. World saved? Barely. Mother survived? Amazingly, yes.

    Game vs. Player: Dark (with possible ultra rare Escalation to Black upon massive Player failure – usually immediately preceeding description of final player Death, Dismemberment or Damnation )

    The impossible horrors being fought by the Players are not Sane. They may not even understand the concepts of sanity or civil human interaction. They are the Other. At the same time, where many Black events cannot be fought, it should always be the case that the Players have some chance of opposing these horrors. Still, should the players get themselves into a bad spot out of their own doing the game will not pull any punches.

    Game vs. Game: Black

    Most of the time, when play starts some kind of horrific interaction has already occured in the game world which the players will eventually discover. And most of the time, there will be more horrific interaction to come… CoC is not a warm and fuzzy place.


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