[19:08] <+consilium> I’m consilium (obviously), and I’ve worked on RPGs on and off for about four years now in an amateur/homebrew capacity. Recently I decided “why not”, and polished up a newly-finished game, and put it up for sale! It’s called ‘Succession’, and the link is here: (Link: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/155109/Succession)http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/155109/Succession
[19:10] <+consilium> The game is a simple, rules-light, narrative-focused fantasy RPG and defaults to a ‘GMless’ structure, all players share usual GM responsibilities and the book provides a lot of guidance on how to do that both fairly and smoothly. It also uses a pretty novel resolution system that strongly focuses on player choice and priority, versus scraping for +1s or tracking minutia. I can go into some detail about that system if you want?
[19:11] <~Dan> Certainly!
[19:12] <&Silverlion> Allo
[19:13] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
[19:15] <+consilium> Well, as the free preview shows, I inherit most of the mechanics from ‘Ghost/Echo’, a game by John Harper. Rather than send you there (though it’s a great game at only two pages), I’ll just summarize:
[19:15] <+consilium> “Things you can do that the rules care about” in Succession is broken up into Deeds, similar in concept to Apocalypse World’s Moves, in that you describe what your character does, in-character, and whenever your character’s actions line up with a Deed, that Deed’s rules apply. But that’s about where the similarities end. First, in Succession, each player is responsible for /their own/ PC’s Deeds, including saying when, which, and
[19:15] <+consilium> whether a Deed is happening at all (so, no GM-or-player-acting-as-GM telling you “roll Go Aggro”).
[19:15] <+consilium> Secondly, there’s no stats, just five common Deeds everyone has, and a list of four ‘skills’, Deeds unique to each PC, and everyone gets two. Some overlap is both inevitable and okay, since any two PCs will usually /do/ their things in different ways.
[19:16] <+consilium> And thirdly, the most distinctive bit, Deeds consist of two parts, an Aim that says whether you basically succeed or not, and a Misfortune that can happen whether you succeed or not. To take ‘Strike or Smite’ as an example, that’s the principle way to hurt people, scare people, and break things. The Aim there will usually–be one of those things! The Misfortune that can happen is getting hurt yourself, or causing unintended harm
[19:16] <+consilium> (such as hurting a bystander, or breaking something you didn’t mean to).
[19:18] <~Dan> Hmm.
[19:18] <+consilium> You always roll at least two d6s, and assign them between the Aim and the Misfortune, so you can choose to succeed at a price, or you can choose to fail but without any consequences, and sometimes RNGesus screws you, and sometimes you hit the jackpot. /Mostly/ though, you’ll have some decision-making to do. Those familiar with PbtA will recognize this has /no/ similarity to the 6/7-9/10+ setup, since you never get to choose what h
[19:18] <+consilium> appens or goes wrong there.
[19:19] * ~Dan nods
[19:20] <~Dan> So how do Deeds relate to the rolls, again?
[19:21] <+consilium> They are the rolls! You roll when you do a Deed, and no other times*.
[19:21] <+consilium> (*There’s tables you can roll on, and some people just like the sound of dice, but.)
[19:22] <+consilium> In Succession in particular, players can also pony up an additional Misfortune when their PC does a Deed, and the other players as a group can do the same, so a given PC doing a given Deed might have up to three Misfortunes to balance between. Often, these will be inherent to the situation, scene, or task, but they can also be something the player considers inherent to their PC. In the book, there’s an example of a PC with a ‘silv
[19:22] <+consilium> er tongue’, something the rules themselves don’t recognize, but a player can make that a Misfortune by saying their character might seem suspicious, or like they’re up to something.
[19:23] <~Dan> So… how do you determine success outside of a Deed?
[19:23] <+consilium> This is a /Misfortune/ because it’s a perception others might have when the PC does social stuff at them with a Deed, and it could go wrong whether those others believe the PC or not. But, it helps, because the player gets to roll one extra die, and assign it among the Aim and main Misfortune.
[19:23] <~Dan> (My apologies if I’m being dense here. Long day.)
[19:24] <+consilium> No worries! It’s your job to ask questions!
[19:24] <~Dan> Yes, but coherent ones! 🙂
[19:26] <+consilium> So, if you /are/ doing a Deed, putting a 5-6 into the Aim means /unconditional/ success, you get what you wanted to get with that Deed, and no Misfortune can take that away from you. The default Misfortunes in particular are written precisely so they can’t do that. A 1-2 in an Aim means you fail, and can’t try that Deed for that purpose again for at least the rest of the scene, and the other players describe /why/ you can’t just k
[19:26] <+consilium> eep rerolling. And a 3-4 means you /can/ succeed, but you have to describe something extra in-character, some bigger risk or extra length your PC goes to, to get the result they want.
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[19:26] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, MaximusPrime!)
[19:26] <+consilium> Outside of Deeds, if you describe your character doing something, and the other players don’t describe anything getting in your way, then–you just do it, no problems. You’ll never have to roll to put armor on or read a map unless there’s a really good reason that that would be hard.
[19:27] <+consilium> Deeds basically outline the things the game cares about; if you do something that /isn’t a Deed/, then the game doesn’t care in particular, so there’s no reason to sweat it.
[19:27] * ~Dan ponders this
[19:28] <~Dan> So if you need to leap over a chasm…?
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[19:29] <+consilium> Then you’re probably either Taking Flight or Cover (hiding, running away from or after things, trying to stay safe), or else probably Holding Fast (steadying your nerves, doing something finessey, sometimes resisting influences).
[19:29] <~Dan> And those are Deeds?
[19:29] <+consilium> Yep!
[19:30] <+consilium> And I might as well name the last two common Deeds, Persuade or Beguile (your lying, socialing, manipulating, or inspiring stuff), and Supplicate (actual get-down-and praying to your patron deity for help).
[19:30] <~Dan> So… what if you don’t have a relevant Deed for chasm-jumping?
[19:31] <+Mr_Rage> Then you probly just do it automatically. Woosh, over you go!
[19:31] <+consilium> Well, by virtue of being a PC, at all, you have all those common Deeds, period! Everyone does. So, you’re probably either Taking Flight or Cover, or else Holding Fast!
[19:33] <~Dan> Ah… Okay, I see.
[19:33] <+Imban> You said up above that this was a GMless game. How are the players or system intended to, er, create drama?
[19:33] <~Dan> Because otherwise, it sounded like Deeds were like weaknesses.
[19:33] <+consilium> In general, anytime something seems uncertain, you can ask yourself or another player “hey, are you doing a Deed? And which one?” I trust players to have a good sense for BS answers to that question, and to know how to reply if someone tries to ~just do~ things that make the game /less fun/.
[19:33] <+Almaz> Technically, having to roll is worse than automatically succeeding, but then that’s true of all games.
[19:34] <+consilium> Nnnooo no no no, Deeds are “things you do, that the system cares about”. And they’re definitely not bad things. But yes as Almaz says, /technically/ “having to roll” is worse than “not having to roll”, but I think most people’s sensibilities would prevent them from, say, knocking out everyone in a rowdy bar without ever engaging the rules.
[19:35] <+consilium> Whereas, if you say “I’m Striking the tar out of everyone” and roll for it, and put a 5 or 6 into the Aim of that Deed–you succeed. And if that means knocking everyone out, then yes, that’s what happens.
[19:36] <+consilium> But, this is where Misfortunes come in, to answer Imban’s question: Misfortunes are the things in the rules that ‘scale up’ as you do more pulpy herotype stuff, rather than say difficulties or modifiers.
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[19:36] <+Imban> Actually, I just meant the simple, uh.
[19:36] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)
[19:36] <+consilium> Imban: nah, I get it, but I’m getting to that too.
[19:36] <+Imban> How is it decided whether we are beating up people in a bar or orcs in a back alley, and why we are doing the thing at all.
[19:37] <+consilium> See: getting to that! (It took a long time to work out.)
[19:37] <+Imban> Ok!
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[19:37] <+consilium> So, if you punch one drunk in a bar, that’s still Strike or Smite, and your Misfortune says “you /may/ get hurt, or hurt something you didn’t mean to”. Often, if you want to put a high die in the Aim (so you beat up the drunk), you’ll have to put a low die in the Misfortune (so, you get hurt in return).
[19:38] <+consilium> With just one drunk jerk in a bar, “get hurt” means, most likely, “maybe a broken nose, or just some bruises”. NBD, just Tuesday night at the tavern. But if you’re instead Striking or Smiting /the entire bar/, the Misfortune is what scales up.
[19:39] <+consilium> You can still, barring serious dice-hatred, beat up every single goon in the entire bar, singlehandedly. But if your Misfortune comes true, probably you crawl out with a broken arm at the best.
[19:40] <+consilium> And in general, the more audacious your PC’s actions, the harder they’ll get smacked for their trouble.
[19:40] <~Dan> How does getting hurt manifest?
[19:41] <+consilium> Oh, good one! In general, injuries themselves become Misfortunes, so if you get a broken arm, that becomes a Misfortune you drag around with you on future Deeds. This is clearly not good, and each time you put a 1 or 2 into your ‘broken arm’, it gets worse.
[19:42] <+Mr_Rage> (That’s my favorite part)
[19:42] * +Almaz raises a hand.
[19:42] <~Dan> Worse in what way, mechanically?
[19:42] <~Dan> Yes, Ms. Almaz? 🙂
[19:42] <+consilium> Nope, narratively, but that’s seriously bad enough. If your ‘broken arm’ eventually turns to ‘mangled meat’–well, there goes your arm.
[19:43] <+consilium> You are now minus one arm.
[19:43] <~Dan> So you’ve been disarmed?
[19:43] <+Almaz> What about, uh, deciding what kind of story you’re telling next, or what quest you’re on or what grail you’re seeking or whatnot?
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[19:43] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[19:43] <+consilium> Almaz: I direct you to Imban and giving him his due shortly.
[19:43] <+Almaz> OK~
[19:43] <+consilium> I wanna cover Misfortunes first though cause they turn out to drive the gears.
[19:45] <+consilium> You can (mechanically) take your ‘broken arm’ Misfortune and ‘put it in a sling’ or otherwise manage it in the short term by putting a 5 or 6 into the ‘broken arm’, getting rid of the Misfortune for the rest of the scene. It’ll come back next scene though, but at least for a bit, you don’t need to worry about it. You can /permanently/ heal injuries by putting a 5 or 6 into them, and then not having them come up again that session.
[19:45] <+consilium> This does mean choosing whether to fix your broken arm or your sprained ankle, and one might heal up before the other, but considering how random /real life/ healing is–I think that’s entirely forgivable.
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[19:47] <+SolutionCat> Hi all, QA tonight?
[19:47] <+consilium> And, you don’t need to roll your ‘broken arm’ Misfortune unless you think it would affect the Deed your PC is doing; if you just sit there, or if you /talk/ to someone, or probably if you’re Supplicating (basically: praying), you can just leave your ‘broken arm’ out of the equation altogether.
[19:47] <+consilium> SolutionCat: yep!
[19:47] <~Dan> (Howdy, SolutionCat! Yup! 🙂 )
[19:47] <~Dan> (Our very own consilium. 🙂 )
[19:47] * +consilium bows.
[19:48] <+consilium> Dan: any other questions before I segue into the drama engine?
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[19:48] <~Dan> Hmm… No, I don’t think so. At least, not yet.
[19:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
[19:48] * +consilium thumbsup.
[19:49] <+consilium> So, character creation! It’s simple, pick a god, and how you serve that god or carry out its wishes, or just live out its philosophy, pick two ‘skills’ (those unique-per-PC Deeds I mentioned) that let you do extra stuff, annnnnd make a Quest for each PC.
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[19:51] <+consilium> Each player gets to pick /why/ they’re going out on a Quest and what, in general, their Quest is about, by answering a couple specific questions. After that, the group builds the rest of the Quest. This is the part I <s>stole</s> learned from Apocalypse World most directly. Those of you who know how Fronts and Threats work can go grab a snack, everyone else, here’s how Succession remixes it:
[19:52] <+consilium> Each Quest has the basic /gist/ chosen by the player whose PC is going on it, but past that, it has an Adversary, sort of a main opponent in a narrative sense; a Bane that motivates that opposition; and a Fate, the Bad End that will happen, for sure, if the PC doesn’t get on the ball and do the Quest.
[19:54] <+consilium> Adversaries come off a list of six broad categories, like ‘Tyrant’ or ‘Environment’, things that will generally get in the PC’s way and preclude a happy end to the Quest. Each category has six more specific kinds, so a ‘Tyrant’ would more specifically be a Profiteer (someone trying to extract money or personal gain), or a Predator (someone who just wants to bully and conquer for its own sake).
[19:56] <+consilium> And each category has a list of Quest Deeds (read: GM Moves for a GMless Game). For a Tyrant, to keep the example, that’s things like “surround, corner, entrap”, and “make a show of force”; things a Tyrant just does by way of being a tyrant. A given Adversary can do /any/ Deed on its list (so a Predator /can/ ‘attack cautiously, holding reserves’), but when making an Adversary, the group will pick three Deeds the Adversary likes b
[19:56] <+consilium> est (so for a Predator, probably ‘make a show of force’, or ‘attack suddenly and with great savagery’).
[19:58] <~Dan> Is there any mechanical incentive for picking those Deeds?
[19:58] <+consilium> Nnno, you just /do/ so, because that’s part of character creation!
[19:59] <~Dan> Ah, gotcha. I didn’t catch that part.
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[20:00] <+consilium> So, if I’m making a hotblooded barbarian type, who wants to topple an evil emperor, I might say she’s going on her Quest on her own volition (the first big Quest question a player gets to answer), and she’s going to Destroy something (the second question). And in particular I’d have to say who she intends to destroy (that jerk emperor), and why (cause he’s a jerk).
[20:00] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lin_Chong!)
[20:00] <+consilium> From there, the group /as a whole/ (including me; there’s no formal procedure so long as every Adversary gets all its kibble by the end), will give my barbarian the rest of her Quest’s details.
[20:01] <+consilium> Like saying that the jerk emperor is the Adversary, and he’s a Tyrant (obviously), and in particular he’s a Predator (a Tyrant who just victimizes people for its own sake).
[20:01] <~Dan> (Because good is dumb.)
[20:02] <+consilium> And they’d give the jerk emperor a few specific Deeds from the Tyrant list that he favors most. These come up in a bit!
[20:03] <+consilium> Once the group has that much on an Adversary, they give it a Bane, one of six broad motivations for their Adversaryness. In summary, these are ‘Need’, ‘Despair’, ‘Decay’, ‘Fear’, ‘Ambition’, and ‘Duty’. There’s more explanation in the book, and guidance on how any kind of Adversary might live up to any Bane, but that’s the gist. As a PC, my barbarian expressly can play to her Adversary’s Bane, let’s say ‘Need’, the jerk Tyrant Pr
[20:03] <+consilium> edator of an emperor is looking for Something Important and isn’t /entirely/ acting out of jerkitude.
[20:04] <+consilium> My PC can either find out what it is he needs, and give it to him, thus neatly removing his motivation to /be/ an Adversary and thus succeeding at her Quest!; or she can /destroy/ the thing, or otherwise make it entirely Ungettable, making the emperor’s Need bad enough to undo them, also succeeding at the Quest. She can also just kill the emperor, and that probably also will end her Quest in a somewhat-favorable way.
[20:05] <+consilium> Importantly, /all/ Quests can be dealt with by addressing the Bane that drives the Quest Adversary, so anyone who wants to can probably find nonviolent ways to resolve things–but that’s going to be a lot harder than old fashioned violence, skullduggery, and other classic PC standbys.
[20:07] <~Dan> Question?
[20:07] <+consilium> Sure!
[20:08] <~Dan> How is a Quest broken down into individual events?
[20:08] <+consilium> Ah, I was just writing that!
[20:08] <~Dan> Whoops! Sorry! *sheepish*
[20:08] <+consilium> No worries!
[20:09] <+consilium> So here’s where the drama engine gears up: Quests have those Deeds and that Fate for /mechanical/ reasons. Any time a PC does a Deed and has either the Aim fail (a 1 or 2), or the main Misfortune come true (also 1 or 2), the PC’s Quest does one of two things: either the Adversary does one of its Deeds, or the Quest takes a step toward its Fate.
[20:09] <+consilium> The other players (ie the ones who don’t own that PC and didn’t roll that Deed) /have to/ pick one of these, and describe it. They can work it in a few minutes later if it wouldn’t make sense /right this second/, but it has to happen, no skirting or skimping.
[20:11] <+consilium> Quests can only take five ‘ticks’ toward their Fate, like a countdown, and each comes with some kind of event that shows the Fate getting more dire and imminent. The first three times this happens, it’s not /serious/ yet, the PC has time to avert the Bad End if they step on it. The next two times are definitely bad news, come with some kind of /irrevocable/ consequence, but there still is time for the PC to brace for it, prepare o
[20:11] <+consilium> thers, do preemptive damage-control–it’ll be bad, but there’s time to keep it from getting worse. The sixth time is final, the Fate comes true in full, whatever was going to happen, happens /right now/.
[20:12] <+consilium> The moon hits Termina, the outbreak breaks out, dead walk the Earth, whatever the Bad End for that Quest was at that moment happens. And the PC might have managed to change the Fate a bit through their actions! But the sixth ‘tick’ of Fate is final.
[20:13] <+Imban> Hm. That seems like each player is going to want to be advancing their own Quests, in order to avoid getting their bad end, which they likely find among the most bad of the bad ends. This seems like it could be one recipe for intra-party strife, which brings me to the other question I had:
[20:14] <+consilium> Quest Deeds though can happen indefinitely, the group can have that barbarian’s hated emperor do jerk emperor stuff each time the barbarian fails at something, or has the main Misfortune happen, as long as they want. /In principle/, the group never has to advance the Fate for a Quest, but that’s just no fun.
[20:14] <+consilium> And go for it, Imban!
[20:15] <+Imban> If my character is opposed to Almaz’s character, or considers her Bad End to be a Good End, and I decide to strike and/or smite her into the howling oblivion of death, the system seems to… kind of afford that a strong first-mover advantage. I mean, I have a 33% chance of just killing her outright, from what I can see?
[20:15] <+Imban> Or even higher, given that I can (and probably will) roll multiple misfortunes.
[20:16] <+consilium> From a cold start, ie no Misfortunes hanging around, you’d have a 55% chance if you don’t care about the main Misfortune of “you get hurt”. There’s a simple system for PC/PC Deeds but the summary is “you give her injuries (Misfortunes) and she probably returns the favor”.
[20:16] <+Imban> Ah. So the system works to make it so that I cannot just declare that I have annihilated another PC forever on a 5-6, then?
[20:16] <+consilium> Your PC dies when you say so though, which as it happens isn’t as lenient a death mechanic as a lot of games have! If you legit think “there’s no way she’d live through that”, then she doesn’t.
[20:16] <+consilium> Right!
[20:17] <+Almaz> No, no,
[20:17] <+Almaz> first you have to prove that I’m a witch.
[20:17] <+Almaz> Then you burn me.
[20:17] <+consilium> But more to the point, the group builds everyone’s Quests /together/, as a group. You’d have to have wanted all along to oppose Almaz’ PC. Which is fine, but you wanted it.
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[20:18] <~Dan> (Howdy, WonderRat!)
[20:18] <+consilium> It’s honestly a lot /easier/ to have everyone roll out with more or less consonant agendas, even if they personally hate each other. Like, seriously, the actual ‘coming up with the Quest details’ takes less thought to weave together than to make oppositional.
[20:19] <+Almaz> But you can each select Quests to destroy the other person’s Ancient, still?
[20:19] <+consilium> Ie their deity?
[20:19] <+Almaz> and then possibly have to defend them?
[20:19] <+Almaz> Yes. ( Alternately: It’s a terribel joke. )
[20:19] <+consilium> Well, yeah, you can! And that might be fun!
[20:19] <+Almaz> terrible.
[20:20] <+Imban> I have known players who are very good at drawing swords on each other for the most bizarre of reasons, so it seemed like a fair question. I figured the ideal was to have the quests work together, but I mean, the Breaking of the Fellowship was a major moment in Lord of the Rings.
[20:20] * +Imban nods, though. Was reassured that it still works even if the players’ characters decide to murder each other over a <s>girl</s>vulture demon they just met.
[20:21] * +Almaz snrrrrk.
[20:21] <+consilium> Yep. And you can totally have PCs go to blows! Just, if you’re doing it as part of a pissing contest, it will not go anywhere. The rules aren’t for mediating interpersonal difficulties. If you’re doing it because it’s fun, it’ll work fine, and someone will die or get spared but humiliated and it’ll be awesome.
[20:21] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about the nature of the setting?
[20:21] <+consilium> Ahhh, that’s a fun question Dan. There essentially /isn’t one/, beyond the three gods, Chaos, Light, and Fire (players are Strongly Nudged to give these gods more specific names IC).
[20:23] <+consilium> Instead, the game has guidance on how to /build/ a setting, as you play, asking players questions about their PCs, using the Quests to say things about the world, and there’s two lists of what amounts to Rorschach inkblot words and phrases, giving evocative names for kinds of creatures, places, groups, and such, but no definition.
[20:24] <+consilium> So, if someone asks you “so what /are/ you defending your village from”, you can turn to p12, and point at the ‘Creatures’ list, and say “Songhunters! They’re /so bad/, luring people off into the swamps and they’re never seen again!”
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[20:24] <+consilium> And now Songhunters are a part of the setting!
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[20:25] <+consilium> (And just like with Adversaries, their specific natures, and Banes, all these lists are broken up by sixes. So you can roll for them if you /really/ can’t choose.)
[20:27] <+consilium> Personally, I really dig how this approach to worldbuilding pans out. In one playtest, we ended up with an almost Exalted-like setting formed from the Gods’ dreams, and threatened by Wakefulness. In another we got a gritty low-fantasy empire–but with more lurking under the surface, that we sadly didn’t touch on.
[20:27] <+consilium> So you never can quite know for sure, beyond knowing that since everyone at the table gets to pitch in, there’ll be something for everyone.
[20:28] <~Dan> But is the assumption that it’s a fantasy setting?
[20:29] <+consilium> Yep, there’s gods that /demonstrably/ exist, with divine intervention and everything! One of those ‘skill’ Deeds is literally Work Wonders (ie, do sorcerous witchcraft, at a steep risk), and the ‘inkblot’ names and phrases are intentionally pretty out there.
[20:30] <~Dan> What about the tech level of the setting?
[20:31] <+consilium> That’s for the players to figure out. Another ‘skill’ Deed is Craft Goods, and with it you can make basically anything you describe your character making. If your group thinks that ancient Mesopotamia seems like a fun place to play, then that’ll probably mean “slings and arrows”, while if you want generic Medieval-esque fantasy, maybe that means a trebuchet or even a steamboat.
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[20:32] <+consilium> I intend to put out a supplement soon that will outline how to repurpose Succession for some different genres, and cyberpunk will probably make an appearance, likewise probably something more Victorian-appropriate, but the rules ultimately are only really interested in “what PCs do”, what risks you take and what costs you’re willing to pay.
[20:32] * ~Dan nods
[20:32] <+consilium> Whether you take those risks with a machuahuitl or a raygun isn’t the point.
[20:33] <+Almaz> But they imply a certain setup tho’, don’t they? One where the listed actions are still relevant.
[20:33] <+consilium> (And anyone on the fence, the supplement will be PWYW, so maybe that sweetens the pot!?)
[20:34] <+consilium> Almaz: very true! The cyberpunk mod I’m considering /would/ add a new common Deed and would likely change the Misfortunes around, to suit it more to a modern, information-based, post-Enlightenment (post-/cybernetics/) world.
[20:35] <+Almaz> so 2015? >_>
[20:35] * +Almaz ducks.
[20:35] <+consilium> Pft.
[20:35] <+Almaz> Why those gods?
[20:36] <+consilium> But no, /as written/ Succession would be /horrible/ for a techno-thriller, and not great for a space-opera, but the overarching framework of how the rules function, and the general attitude they take, I think can apply to quite a lot of things, and with more tailored Deeds, the rules that power Succession could do cyberpunk, space-opera, or a lot else. I have a much much bigger project still in the works that uses the same /kind/ o
[20:36] <+consilium> f rules (but more of them) for modern vampires!
[20:36] <+consilium> Ooooh, good question. So:
[20:37] <+consilium> I’d messed around with the core ‘Ghost/Echo’ rules under Succession a /lot/ before I actually put Succession, Specifically together. So I was comfy with coming up with Deeds (Moves, in earlier iterations) and their Aims and Misfortunes (Goals and Dangers in earlier works and in Ghost/Echo). That was about ten minutes’ honest thought.
[20:38] <+consilium> The gods though? I spent about three hours, at least, thinking about /which gods/ and /how to characterize them/. I considered a lot of different takes, but always three deities and always expressly neither good nor evil.
[20:40] <+consilium> I settled on /those three/ in particular because they told a kind of story I liked: at first there was nothing, or so much ignorance and confusion as to be basically nothing; then there was a measure of knowledge, definition, and enforcement; then came power and its pursuit and personal glorification; and then comes ??? No really, the book says new gods are worming out of the woodwork, and that whichever of the three big ones you w
[20:40] <+consilium> orship, your ways might come to an end soon.
[20:42] <+Ashen> I notice none of them seem diametrically opposed, nor do they have an obvious rock-paper-scissors relationship going on. I assume that’s a deliberate design decision?
[20:42] <+consilium> And I chose to characterize each deity very carefully; Chaos is definitely not evil, it’s as likely to send you out caring for orphans as it is to order you to wake up a leviathan. It hates selfishness and wants you to prosper–in interesting ways. Light isn’t all smiles and rainbows, she presides over death, sin, and punishment, and will as likely tell you to punish the wicked or risk your life studying a basilisk as to help out
[20:42] <+consilium> at a hospital, she’s /not/ Lawful Good. And Fire wants beauty and art, as forms of glory, not just conquest.
[20:43] <+consilium> Ashen: yep! They all /can/ align, and all /can/ conflict. It’s up to how individual worshipers (ie PCs, ie /people/) approach their deity and beliefs. Heartless villains can worship Light with a clean conscience, just following their faith, and likewise noble heroes can serve Chaos without any unease.
[20:44] <+consilium> Ultimately, the thing I expressly never mention in Succession, the point is that morality and priorities are for humans. They’re human things that humans have the burden to come up with, to understand, and to carry out, or fail to. Gods have nothing to do with them.
[20:45] <+consilium> And the gods in Succession, in particular, have no sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, they instead each have a sense of ‘Chaos / notChaos’, ‘Light / notLight’, ‘Fire / notFire’.
[20:47] <~Dan> Do you prefer morally ambiguous settings like this?
[20:47] <+consilium> So, yes, that’s why these gods in particular, /because/ they visibly don’t quite make sense as “a pantheon” (they’re not), nor quite a /cycle/ (though one might read them as an /incomplete/ cycle, given that ‘story’ I mentioned), nor do they necessarily have to conflict, nor cooperate. They’re very carefully defined so as to make sense as deities, while still being what you make of them.
[20:48] <+consilium> Dan: well, on a personal note, I’m a Utilitarian (and also a godless atheist, the two aren’t really connected). So I approach morality from a very simple perspective: what makes people happiest? That’s a question these deieties really don’t care about or ever ask, but /PCs/, being humans, will care a lot about that question. /Most/ people care about that question in some way.
[20:49] <+consilium> And I think how we answer that question, no matter what we believe, will say a lot about how we’ll figure out what’s right, or whether we’ll bother trying.
[20:49] <+consilium> So in one sense, I guess you could say I believe we /live in/ a ‘morally ambiguous setting’ – sometimes you have to push the one guy onto the trolly tracks, to save five others. Not because pushing people onto trolly tracks is right, but because five lives is more than one.
[20:50] <+consilium> But even in Succession, unless you really subscribe hardcore to Divine Command Theory (“it’s right/wrong because God said so, and no other reason”), that’s still true in Succession. It’ll still be right to save lives, even if some have to be risked or given up.
[20:51] * +Almaz raises a finger.
[20:51] <+consilium> So, in that sense, in that there’s always something that makes people happier or better-off, I wouldn’t call it morally ambiguous at all; there’s still a right and a wrong, and you still have the burden of figuring out which, and how to get there.
[20:51] * +consilium acknowledges Almaz.
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[20:52] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:52] <&Le_Squide> (Hey Dan!)
[20:53] <+Almaz> Not a question, more a comment… the phrase “morally ambiguous” is very popular but there are at least two things it could describe… 1)a setting where there are no moral paragons, where every position is in the end demonstrated to be ethically bankrupt, where everyone is secretly evil, etc.
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[20:54] <+R4therD4shing> o/
[20:54] <+R4therD4shing> Ora ora ora!~
[20:54] <~Dan> (Howdy, R4therD4shing! 🙂 )
[20:54] <+R4therD4shing> Yooo
[20:54] <+Almaz> … and 2) settings where there are concepts of good and evil and you can see them in motion, but because there is no greater cosmological force “maintaining the balance” or whatnot, the only answer to the problem of rampant evil is… bringing it to justice with your own hands. Which can be a difficult and tedious task as no one’s looking out for you while you do it.
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[20:54] <+R4therD4shing> (Oops, Im interrupting)
[20:54] <~Dan> (No worries!)
[20:54] <~Dan> (Howdy, RokoJoko!)
[20:55] <~Dan> consilium: In what remains of regular time, is there anything we haven’t discussed that you’d like to bring up?
[20:55] <+consilium> Ahh, in /that/ case, 1) is only as true as the group believes it. If everyone is inclined to go topple the Informedly Corrupt Church and eventually kill god, well–that’s a story they consider compelling. Personally, I prefer keeping in mind that no one wakes up and says “I’m gonna be the very worst, like no one ever was”, as a basic rule.
[20:56] <+consilium> 2) is the default state of things, if you want to see good done in Succession, go forth and do it.
[20:57] <+Almaz> And by “concepts of good and evil” I mean… sure there’s points of disagreement on ethics and morality but relatively few philosophies endorse skinning people and turning them into lampshades.
[20:58] <+consilium> And Dan, I suppose mentioning that while I definitely will release more games in the future using the same framework as Succession, /most/ of them won’t be so, for lack of a better word, ‘philosophical’. I’m polishing up a game at the moment about being <s>pretty much literally Bayonetta</s> a gunwitch.
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[20:58] <+Mr_Rage> (It’s really cute.)
[20:58] * +consilium ~~
[20:58] <~Dan> Very cool. 🙂
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[20:59] <+consilium> Almaz: basically what I meant by “no one wakes up wanting to be a villain”, or even believing themselves one. I find it more interesting when people conflict over /how/ to do right, than over right-against-wrong. And Succession makes it easy to do that, unless you really want A Villain–then you get a villain, go nuts.
[20:59] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, consilium, and thanks to those of you who joined us for the Q&A! I hope you all will feel free to hang out with us going forward. 🙂
[20:59] <+consilium> Thank you so much for having me!
[21:00] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll log the chat and get you the link. 🙂
[21:00] <+consilium> (Link: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/155109/Succession)http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/155109/Succession here’s the link again, for any newcomers or anyone now piqued!
[21:00] <+Mr_Rage> \o/
[21:00] <+consilium> Thanks!