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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:34 pm
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Hey there, I've been going over the website and so far, I'm very interested in the project, both as a fan of the classic Myst games and as an experienced GM. I had a few questions regarding the game.

-First, I'm familiar with the D'ni setting, the ages and such but I was wondering whta kind of setting the player characers would come from. Myst and Riven deliberately kept this information vague and I've never played Uru. Is it a modern setting, historical or do the players make characters native to a populated age such as Riven? Are the characters assumed to be independant or do they answer to organized groups of npcs in the suggested setting?

-Will the Fate core rulebook be necessary to play or is the Unwritten book standalone?

-The games are entirely non-violent. Will it still be the case here? Does the system penalize violent solutions or is it entirely left to the interpretation of the GM and players?

I'm looking forward to the final product. Best of luck with what looks like an amazing project!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:20 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:12 am
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- The default setting mostly because we needed to pick somewhere to start. The setting is the modern day, several years after the end of Myst Online. The assumption is that PCs will be humans from the surface. That being said, there is no reason you can't have PCs who are D'ni survivors, natives of other Ages, etc.

The book includes a discussion of taking the game in different directions, including historical D'ni, surface and D'ni games and 'D'ni-less' games.

- You do not need the FateCore book to play Unwritten. However, getting the book will only make your game better. As an experienced GM, I'm betting FateCore would be invaluable to have in general, as well as many of the other Fate and FateCore games out there. Plus, almost all of the developers in the Fate community are top-notch and deserver having money thrown at them :mrgreen:

- Unwritten allows violence and combat, as a partially pulp adventure style game. However, it is de-emphasized. FateCore treats physical and mental/social setbacks similarly, and only one skill in Unwritten is focused on combat. A few others can be used for it, but have many other uses. Also character death isn't really a mechanic in the game. Rather characters get 'taken out' of a scene. That can be death, or it can be something else.

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Scott L Hamilton
(BladeLakem and J.D. Barnes in Myst Online)
Unwritten designer and rules monkey

Unwritten RPG G+ Community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105 ... 0139147797


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:34 pm
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Thanks for your reply. From what you're saying it sounds like the setting is flexible enough to fit various types of campaigns. As for the Fate system, I've never tried it before, but it sounds interesting. I'll definitely look more into it. The downside of experience for me is that I tend to stick to older rulebooks that have long been out of print. :lol:

The approach towards combat sounds like other systems I've seen before, where it's treated as just another skill roll with no particular emphasis placed on it. The "out of commission for a scene rather then death" rule is one I've encountered before as well. One system in particular gave out experience penalties to players who favored violent solutions. It's a bit extreme but it did favor player creativity.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
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Interesting.. never played with FATE so I'm not sure of how it works, but I do kind of like the focus away from combat solutions as it were. The question then is how the skills work at other things. I mean, a focus off of combat mechanics is nothing if there's a focus off of all mechanics, and it's a loose guideline with everything being freeform. (Not that that's bad per-se, but it's just a different style).
How do the mechanics come into play? If for instance I have a piece of D'ni machinery I want to understand, do I have some generic "engineering" score I work with, can it be supplemented with a "D'ni history" score to figure what it would have been? Can I test and watch the results (in proper Myst fashion) or do I have to roll against said engineering score or possibly a "trial and error" one? Is there a "Intuitive understanding" score to allow a chance to suddenly grok (via hints from the GM) the Riven marble puzzle?

Sorry, just kind of confused about a system I've never seen. A lot of this defines how it plays out.. we know combat is an option but not the option, but it then begs how everything else plays out and how focused around your character sheet vs the player behind the character it is.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:30 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:12 am
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Well, I suggest looking at the FateCore book at http://www.faterpg.com. The PDF is Pay-What-You-Want. It's worth a full gaming book in my opinion (300 pages of nifty stuff). Since it is Open Gaming License, you can see the System Reference Documents for free (http://www.fate-srd.com/ had it nicely laid out).

I'll give a summary. (This turned out to be really long :oops: )

Skills are broad skills with a rating, which you use when making dice rolls. There are around 20 skills total and are meant to represent wide areas of skills. Nothing revolutionary here.

But now we get to where Fate shines: aspects. An aspect is a short phrase that is important. You might have an aspect of "Hot-Headed Explorer", "Too Sexy for this Cavern" or even "My Trusty Swiss-Army Knife". You get a few for your character. They define not only details about your character, but details that are dramatically important. I mean, anyone can have a cool knife, but if it is one of your aspects, it comes up a lot and it makes a difference in the story.

So what do you do with them? First, they are used as justification. Aspects are true and important. So when I need a tool, I don't just have any knife, I have My Trusty Swiss Army Knife(tm). If I am Too Sexy for this Cavern, then everyone knows it and my milkshake brings all the explorers to my Bevin. It's like saying Dr Who has a Sonic Screwdriver and has A Unique Style of Dress.

But you can do more with aspects. When they become dramatically relevant, you can invoke them. You spend a fate point to invoke the aspect and you get bonuses to your rolls (among other possibilities). So when you are trying to get that cute ResEng to let you into the DRC library, you can spend a point and invoke Too Sexy for this Cavern to help you out. Or if you are trying to be all Swiss Family Robinson in Haven, you can invoke My Trusty Swiss-Army knife to get you some bonuses because, wow, it has just the right tool you need.

But wait, there's more. Aspects don't only help you. They can make life more difficult. This is called a compel. The GM can point out "Hey, yer a Hot-Headed Explorer, you aren't just going to take Cate Alexander talking to you like that" and offers you a fate point. You can choose to roll with the compel and act out the problem and get a fate point for your troubles. Or you can spend one of your own fate points to avoid the issue and move on. Thus, if you role-play things that make your character's life more complicated, you are rewarded.

And it goes further. Aspects are everywhere. Characters have aspects, NPCs can have aspects, items can have aspects, places can have aspects. Heck the very game itself has aspects. And you can invoke them all. And the GM can compel all as well. If the caves of Eder Gira have the aspect Dark and Shadowy, you can invoke them to help when hiding from the evil Bahro. Or the GM can compel it so that you get lost in the dark.

None of this mucking about with a list of rules like "You get a +3 to Steath while in the dark, but only a +1 if your toes are sticking out." If the aspect is important, either you or the GM bring it up, pay the points and boom, it's now a plot point. Otherwise, it just didn't matter at that time.

This is where Fate is really strong. It's not about simulating a reality. It's about simulating a fiction. Details are important when they advance story. You roll not because that's how the game works; the rules tell you explicitly to roll only when either success or failure might be interesting. And if combat solutions are important ("Send in the Maintainers to capture that hill!"), then it is. If not, it doesn't come up (in the playtest games we've run so far, we've had only one violent action, when someone smashed a linking book into Gehn's face to force him to link out).

You don't have to worry about a lot of numbers that may not end up making sense - aspects make as much sense as you give them and as much sense as the story needs. And both players and the GM have a say in things as they progress.

...

So yeah, I'm pretty fond of this system... 8-)

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Scott L Hamilton
(BladeLakem and J.D. Barnes in Myst Online)
Unwritten designer and rules monkey

Unwritten RPG G+ Community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105 ... 0139147797


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:30 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:41 pm
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I am sooooooooooooooooooo so so so SO so so excited for beta. Like, SOOOOOO excited.

:D :D :D :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:16 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
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Thanks for the quick summary.. I'd heard some stuff about how you can gain/spend fate points, and heard a lot of good stuff about them. Glad to see how it spreads through the system. In turn it sounds more like the skills of your character are used for special dramatic points where the gm figures you need a bit of tension and uncertainty.. and for the most part they never come up.. in turn aspects seem to be more about shaping the story with narrative qualities and points to focus on. Hmm.

I admit, I do like the idea. I am kind of curious how diplomacy and talking will be handled.. that's something systems tend to either ignore entirely (for good reason!) or declare as part of the dice and then get screwy. Usually it's ignored and at GM's will.. I'm fine with that except in the case of a bad GM but that's hardly a rule system fault. It does sound more like since it's a narrative type game it's fine to have less focus on that, and more focus on aspects to draw qualities to more free-form diplomatic RP. That's good.. I never did like making a rousing speech, then being told "Now make a speech roll" and flubbing it. Of course others who aren't so great at that sort of speech making will have more issues, where they prefer leaving it to the dice.. but I guess you can't handle everything.


On the plus side, I'm now starting to get more interesting in the aspects list you're planning! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:12 am
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Aspects are free-form - you make them up for yourselves. The ones in the example above were simply things off the top of my head. (There is a definite list of skills, however.)

As for your diplomacy example, it comes back to the fact that Fate is a toolbox as opposed to a ruleset, really. The rules don't tell you how to do things, they give you options for doing things. So, if you want to mechanize a bit of diplomacy, go for it. If you don't need to, that's great too. And you can choose what specifics you want to roll with on a case-by-case basis.

So let's look at your rousing speech. First off, the question is: "Is the possibility of failure interesting?" If you make a really cool IC speech, probably it isn't; it's just a pain. So, we don't roll.

But let's say we think it is. "Failure" can be a lot of things. Just "you fail to rouse the crowd" isn't an interesting failure. Maybe instead you anger the crowd and they decide you need to be taught a lesson. Maybe it pushes them into the hands of an opponent.

Also in Fate is the option of 'success at cost'. If you fail a roll, in many cases you can choose to succeed, but at a serious (narrative) cost. So say that you rouse the crowd, but someone in the crowd takes exception and decides you are dangerous - you've just made an enemy who will start showing up in game. Sometimes you roll not to see if you succeed or not, but rather to see what success will cost you.

There are a lot of ways you can mechanize it. You can roll before you do the IC speech. A success roll there means that your speech is going to be well-received, even if you as a player are not Winston Churchill. A failure may mean that you are going to have to work really hard IC to make that speech effective. If it's a debate with another person, you could use the conflict rules to stage it like a fight over the hearts and minds of the crowd, each of you doing 'damage' to the other's position.

_________________
Scott L Hamilton
(BladeLakem and J.D. Barnes in Myst Online)
Unwritten designer and rules monkey

Unwritten RPG G+ Community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105 ... 0139147797


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:53 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
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Good.. I didn't get a clear answer if aspects were pre-determined or not from the fate core materials (though I haven't gone over the book in full detail yet, I want to buy a hardcopy but doing it online shipping is as expensive as the book itself so I'm gonna hit up my 'local' gaming store (20 minute drive) first). I assume you'll be giving a number of suggestions? Even if we make our own, a good list s a good option.

Also, surprisingly you calling it a 'toolbox as opposed to a ruleset' is what really made it clear for me. I'd say use that line in the gamebook :) It made me realize that it's a freeform guided story, and that the rules are about a narrative not a 'game'. I've played more 'games' before, so I had to get that down in my head.

In turn the diplomacy makes sense.. it's part of the system, it's all part of the co-operative narrative you're building. I'm rather curious how the skills will come down to (if you're using the standard Fate ones or changing/adding your own).. but now I have a good idea how things will play out.

I also like the idea of conflict rules to stage a debate like a fight. I think that could actually be used in any system.. both players have 'support' and they make verbal 'attacks' using their abilities of whatever form, and try to sway the crowd. First person to lose their support loses the debate, and the result might even depend on how long it took (crowds get pumped by a good back and forth as it goes on after all) and how much support was lost on each side. Of course that's musings for another time, but if I wanted to have a debate with a fellow explorer about utilizing a cache of found D'ni weapons and armor in a fight against the bahronoir on the steps of Ae'gura, it'd work as a way to establish how well our points are made, the rough idea of support for each, and if enough explorers are dissuaded by both our sides to go off and form a third group (answer: almost certainly, as anyone there during any incarnation of Live knows!)


So thanks for the clarifications. I think I have a good idea how things are gonna work out now in general. Now to get a copy of Fate Core to read over in the meantime!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:09 pm
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This may have been mentioned, but there's a mini-book called "Fate Accelerated" which covers the basics in just 50 pages.


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