Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC list

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Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC list

Postby pander » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:16 pm

Now that the game's thread is starting to pick up steam, I thought it would be best to take a page from a couple other forum games and separate in-game discussions and actions from OOC discussion of rules, mechanics, etc. I'm going to copy-paste a lot of what I've posted in the game thread and put it in the first three posts of this discussion thread. These first three posts will frequently be updated as changes are made to the game itself, whether it be the introduction of a new character, a new town, or a tweaking of an existing rule. From there, we can debate, discuss, pontificate, whatever, on the workings of the world and game we're creating.

The first post will outline the game's mechanics and rule set. The second post will outline past and current player story lines (I may also add in locality and world stories to that post). The third will contain information on the locations and known NPCs of the world. It will also have a list of possible names for currently unspecified locations and powerful NPCs (kings and such) on which players will be able to vote.

Stories: solo, joined, locality, world. The game's progress is going to be charted in several modes. Players can opt to go solo, and in doing so, can wait as little as a few minutes between rounds (if I feel up to it at the time), and will be outside most of the game's time line. If a solo player decides to meet up with other players, the time lines will join and I'll do what I can to patch up any inconsistencies (shouldn't be much of an issue). Joined stories are when two or more player characters meet up and start questing. This I suspect will be a more rewarding experience, which is why most people default to it. Joined stories will have a mechanic (to be explained in the next paragraph) to keep those stories running or stalled if the active members want to wait for the inactive members to return. The locality stories will happen in towns, dungeons, mines, forests, etc. and can be events that happen outside of the players' view and can be conveyed to the players when those players ask for information at inns, bars, or whatever. Locality stories will be along the lines of wars, famines, droughts, and scary monster sightings. Players can choose to interact with those locality stories. There is also a world story - which has already been started by Green - and will culminate in full-scale, across-all-stories events.

One of the limitations of forum games seems to be the availability of participants. The first mechanic I'd like to include to combat that is something I'm calling "roster flexibility". What this will entail is a system wherein players can opt in and out of joined stories if they know they will or won't have time to commit to them. Characters will have a default setting that's in their profiles; for instance, a bartender will go back to tending the bar when in inactive mode, but can easily be brought back to action when the player wants to regain control. I'll also probably use these formerly player controlled characters as recurring NPC's.

Each "round" - that is, after I post an action for a group of players and the time they use to respond to that action - there will be a real time cutoff for a response by each player in that group. I'm saying four days for now, but the number is not set. If by the end of day four, one or more players don't respond, they'll be sent into NPC mode and go back to whatever their profession would have them do (tend bar, chop wood, etc.), the players that did respond can alter their moves or progress knowing they'll be one or more team members short. A player that knows of an upcoming period of inactivity could also designate a player or players to pilot his character during that time of inactivity (though a period of more than a month will shift the character into NPC mode).

Any named character that's been an NPC for more than 14 real time days can be turned into a player character. I may have to put some restrictions on kings and other "important" characters, but for now, anyone that's been mentioned in game can be controlled, that includes any character that's been snookered by one of the current player characters. Bonus points to anyone that wants to start up the story of Uldrich the steak mourner. This also includes any shelved characters like (probably) Gordon.

Mercenaries: for those times player characters are long idle and you want more story. If a joined character goes idle, the active members of the party can choose to seek out NPC help at the bar or other suitable locations. I'm considering having a stat like charisma to give characters a limit on mercenaries per mission, but for now, I'll just say a specific group or person says yes to a player's request for quest aid. The drawback of mercenaries is less control. They'll do what seems best to them and very rarely will they do exactly what a player wants. Backstabbing will also not be out of the question for mercenaries. They will ask for a payment agreement when they join.

The rule of cool versus plausibility (I'm shamelessly stealing the first part of this title from a D&D story I read thanks to timsheff): actions will continue not to be decided by dice rolls. Instead, if a player chooses to perform plausible actions, they are almost guaranteed to work. Plausible in this sense meaning that everything the player has previously stated regarding their character would lead someone to believe that the current action is something the character could do. Example of a plausible action: a fencer aims for a vital point and attempts to pierce the monster. Example of an implausible action: a fencer with no previous mention of magic skills casts firebolt. This doesn't mean that the aforementioned fencer couldn't learn magic and then cast firebolt (though doing so in the same turn doesn't seem likely). If a player goes out of the way to write a particularly amazing action, I might just let it slide if it's that awesome. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way in testing my meter for what constitutes awesome in my mind, you may end up with a lot of dead characters along the way (that's pretty awesome to me too).

(frequently updated)
Last edited by pander on Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
Mechanics, rules and story outlines are found in the discussion page: http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8853
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby pander » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:16 pm

Concurrent stories:

Bas contracted wanderlust, stole some supplies for the journey and made his way to Beywick.

Nog is plotting and prosecuting a stabby-kill rise to power.

Grover, the dog in Elena's story, wandered into an elven village in the Great Forest.


Former or forestalled stories:

Elena made a daring escape from a battle between her slaver captors and a goblin army. With only her weapons, she sprinted into what she assumed would be the safety of the surrounding woods. She hadn't bargained on the ancient hostility of the Great Forest. As she ran further into the forest, the massive thousand year old trees in all directions blocked out nearly all light and any air currents from the outside. As she collapsed from exhaustion, she noticed a dog drinking from a pool of water.

Moments later, the dog licked Elena back in consciousness. Elena tried to gather her belongings and assess her surroundings when an elf ran into her - literally. The elf, though hesitant to get involved with a human but because an army of goblins was on the way, offered to help if Elena would hurry up. When Elena gave no answer, the elf dashed further down the trail without her.

Elena and the dog attempted to follow the elf but he was soon far out of their sight and sound. The cost of running all day on an empty stomach while carrying a bag of weapons and without a drink of water again forced Elena to a prone position. The gravity of the situation must have been lost on Elena, as she quickly attempted to climb a tree. The dog alerted her to the presence of something in the forest. She realized that the sound was coming from the direction the elf had run and drew her bow and arrow and aimed toward that point. The second elf that had come to save her understood that she was lost to all help and that he might be taken down with her if he tried to intervene.

After trying to call out to the presence in the woods beyond her sight, she again moved down the path further away from the goblins but her exhaustion, hunger and thirst were again too much to overcome. She collapsed, to be rudely awoken again hours later and just before a blade thrust through her abdomen, ending her miserable, delirious journey for good.

Ned had discovered the body of a woman in the street, dead by unnatural means.

Charles may be the only survivor of the massacre at Dalivik at the hands of Goblins. He made his way to the town of Beywick. With the help of Ned, a watchman of Beywick, he was on his way to have an audience with the mayor of said town to inform him of the carnage in the once prosperous mining town.
Last edited by pander on Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:37 am, edited 3 times in total.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
Mechanics, rules and story outlines are found in the discussion page: http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8853
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby pander » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:17 pm

These are the current player characters (by contacting each player, I may demote some of them to NPC's)(all characters are human and male unless otherwise noted):

Bas, former lumberjack - Baskinger
Nog, goblin, grunt - YetiChow


Named NPC's and their current location:

Gordon, bartender - Bar, the capital city of Caelandonia (formerly piloted by Capt_Kiwi)
Inventory
- Leather Armor
- High Quality Dagger
- Book (Spells for the Beginning Mage)
- 140 Silver Coins(400 at home)
- Flint and Steel
- 3 Bread
- A Flagon of water


Ned, Beywick city guardsman - Beywick (formerly piloted by Ulric)
Inventory
- 13 Silver Coins
- Shortsword
- Longbow
- 10 Arrows
- Cloak
- Half a bread loaf
- Waterskin (half-full)
- 3 Mysterious Orbs


Charles, dwarf, former miner - Bar, Beywick (formerly piloted by Aduvash)
Inventory:
- Exquisite Clothing
- Small Flail
- Empty Leather Flagon
- Strange Note
- 5 Silver Coins
- Malachite Frog
- 1 Siltroot
- Strange Leaves
- Glazed doughnut


Josh, town crier - Streets of Beywick
Grover, dog, hunting dog - an elven village in the Great Forest (formerly piloted by pander)
Earl, apothecary - Apothecary, Beywick
Gofin, Mayor of Beywick - City Hall, Beywick
Davy, sailor of the Royal Navy - Bar, the capital city or somewhere interesting
Uldrich, lumberjack - in a forest, mourning the loss of his steaks
Farin, dwarf, barkeep - Bar, Beywick
Firio Jenoard, former noble - in the care of some ally
Karon, swordmaster, mercenary - unknown
Jarven, former watchman, mercenary - unknown
Jade, female, witch doctor - unknown
Lugdub, goblin, lieutenant - unspecified
Zug, goblin, red stick chief - unspecified
Jagjog, goblin, grunt - unspecified

Graveyard

Elena, female, mercenary captain - Egreham [murdered in the great forest by a goblin]
Last edited by pander on Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:42 am, edited 4 times in total.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
Mechanics, rules and story outlines are found in the discussion page: http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8853
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby pander » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:05 am

Apologies to Egreham on being the first to die by my gm'ing. I hope to continue writing these multi NPC perspective epilogues to character deaths. Let me know if this was gratuitous or gratifying. Hopefully other people were reading and realized that Egreham had made some fairly common RPG blunders; it'll make me feel better about how it all ended.

If it's any consolation to Egreham, unless you had been friendly to the elves, there really wasn't any hope you were getting out of the mess you had thrown your character into when you wrote the end of that prologue. No food, no water, nasty wilderness area, and then you don't have your character forage for food or drink from the pool you planted yourself by. Well, like you said, you can always pull the alternate reality card. I'd even suggest starting a new Eliza but with a much more likely to succeed beginning.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby GreenZanbato » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:14 pm

I think it was ok for Eliza to die there, although it does seem a bit harsh. You should add the elves to the npc list.
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby pander » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:01 pm

GreenZanbato wrote:I think it was ok for Eliza to die there, although it does seem a bit harsh. You should add the elves to the npc list.


Thanks for your assessment. I struggled with whether or not the goblins would just murder her, so I let a goblin that may stay alive long enough make the hypothetical decision for me. If you're talking about some other manner of the offing that seems harsh, say so.

For the record: in a PM, I asked Yeti what Nog would do if he happened upon that situation. If Nog dies before then, it'll be Lugdub or some other goblin that gets that sword and armor that does the killing blow. This is the method I hope I can use to bring stories together (though, of course, in most story joinings, there won't be a death).

I purposefully left the names of the elves out of the story, but if anyone wants to create them - giving them names, a village name and a location - that's fine by me; Then I'll add them to the NPC list.

Egreham wrote:So.... I'm dead?

Why was there no ATTEMPT for verbal communication? Why didn't she, or he, try to call out, to get trust? Did the elf stay after 30 seconds, and see that she put down her bow? No? But isn't it really weird someone would get up there just for the magnanimity, then turn away because of sudden distrust and lack of empathy that an outsider who may have well been lost and "brink of exhaustion" might not be too secure at the moment? Also, you said that the Great Forest they dwell in is far more dangerous than normal ones.

(Though irrelevant I guess and yes, it's too late for this) that moment the elf was waiting for my response, I was about to say "yes", but it was just that he left too fast, and I was still getting at the mechanics.


Yup. One of the things that you must have forgotten was the impending doom of the large goblin horde you wrote about in your prologue. I had them advancing toward you every time you made an action. The elven scout you first ran into had a very good estimate on when the horde would "reach" the elven village and because of the danger to his people, was willing to sacrifice a creature for which he felt great suspicion (which is basically all non elves). The second elf was only going to help you if you dispelled the notions the first elf had built up, that you were proud and didn't want help. Since you had an arrow pointed straight at him, he took that as all the answer he needed and immediately turned around. He knew the goblins were very close - thanks to what the scout had told him - and didn't want to get caught or lead the goblins straight back to the village. He was out of range of understanding your attempt at communication before 30 ticks were up. For reference: the special wood elf spell only allows them to run, but reeeeaaaalllly fast and without detection. Without exactly meaning to do so, I've painted the elves of that village as isolationist cowards but I'm fine with that.

For your point about only starting to learn the mechanics: I made sure that first "conversation" decision was non fatal and sent you another elf, but I wanted it to be clear that NPC's don't just wait around for player characters to interact with them. I tried to hint that he'd run off without an answer without being too blatant about it. I also didn't want to give it away entirely that aiming your weapons at the direction from which your salvation would come would be a terrible decision, but I gave you the chance to change that action.

It may be my fault for letting you play with that back story without properly warning you that the situation you threw Eliza into was almost completely hopeless (though if you had gone with the elves you'd have been free of the goblins for that mini story arc, which is why I needed to make sure your character had reasonable skills for her age and background). I thought it better to let it play out and get a sense of if I could justify killing a character with the mechanics I have set up if the the player and the circumstances determined that was the outcome - which is open for debate.

I hope only letting the story go for a week real time somewhat softened the blow. This should not be taken as an indication of how all stories will run if the players are willing to do things like carry food or water or have their characters search for those essentials and to interact with neutral/friendly NPCs in conversations.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby GreenZanbato » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Just felt like I should mention that now that I thought about it more, I don't think Eliza should have died there. Remember when aduvash was getting out of that cave? He would have died there because of the bad choices he made, which were much worse than Eliza's choices, but I let him get out because he was just starting.
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby pander » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:43 pm

Ah, harsh in the sense that my time limit for players to learn what I as a GM thought would be a smart decision was too short. It's probably true, and should be chalked up to my love of perma-death systems. I'd be fine with a do-over if that's what Egreham wants to do with Eliza. If you do this, Egreham, please set up the story in a way that leaves me with better opportunities to save your characters from themselves.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
Mechanics, rules and story outlines are found in the discussion page: http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8853
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby Egreham » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:29 pm

To be fully honest, I'm not happy of how it ended up. Eliza died with barely any progression or accomplishment, and came too quickly. I didn't like how the only hope I had was to accept the elf's help, which I felt "following" should have been a enough "yes", and with the elf not caring to offer the character the choice to put down her weapon, which made the "quiz skeleton" show too plainly. And it wasn't quite the thing I was looking forward to discovering when waking up and starting the day to.

But also, to be fully honest, I realized some of my faults and mistakes, some inherent. Throughout my experiences with role-playing games, I have developed somewhat of a "GM paranoia". I have been on multiple occasions had my character baited into doing something the GM knew I was going to do, and either ended in death or serious loss. Also, when you came with the RoPvsC, I was only given a "relative" value of my skills, and with the word "plausibility", so I was particularly nervous because of my general experience and knowledge with real-life physics and physical abilities. I was also rather fumbling around with the unfamiliar concept of forum gaming, at least the roleplaying one.

I have come to understand that I have, by no doubt, put too much sentimental value upon Eliza, and led her with bad decisions through my paranoia and nervousness to an eventual, rather stupid death. Also, it came to conflict with her personality and character, which wasn't designed to hold chronic, incurable suspicion. Also the cause of my placement of sentimental value was most likely from the amount of effort that went into first Daer's story, then her story. The reason I make character's story unreasonably long was to give the GM the basic idea of how to handle the character, and possibly relate to the character. But I realize that whatever characterization that Eliza express is mainly my job, and long story plotline is somewhat of a vanity. On irrelevant side note, I also didn't like how I portrayed her as someone as melodramatic or too deeply thinking to the point of awkward silence.

Yes, I will accept your offer of restarting Eliza. When I made that introductory plot, I was hoping that you would stop the slavers somewhere near Dalivik, where she could have scavenged around and perhaps gather up the survivors, or Beywick. I'm not sure what to write for her at the moment. I wanted so to create a "separated from friends" situation where she would be acted alone by me, at least for some time. Her friends would be looking for her of course, but taking time to track her down, being almost completely unaware where a slaver would go.

For now, I guess I have calm down a great deal, and come to terms with my faults and mistakes. I'm just waiting for your response.
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Re: Tales of Caelandonia discussion, rules, stories and NPC

Postby pander » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:20 am

I think that's about as well as anyone can take losing a character in which they've invested thought and time.

Before you restart Eliza, I hope you consider changing that last paragraph of her back story. Creating a method of being separated from her mercenary group is good, it just shouldn't leave her in such a hopelessly isolated position that I either have to write a deus ex machina for her or have her get murdered again. For the record, wherever she ends up for the do-over, it'll be an entirely different story from the first one. In that new back story, give her a proper inventory at the end, and if you can remember to, please put the whole thing in "code" tags to make it easier for people reading this but not interested in each character's back story to skim past it. This time, definitely give her a hunting knife and flint and steel if you want her to play wilderness survival games.

I'm going to keep the story of the first Eliza in the records of this thread but change her name to something similar, because (a) Nog may happen upon that poor woman in the future so the story stays, and (b) there's no reason to keep the name and confuse the two Eliza's.

As soon as you're satisfied with your new start up story, we can get running again.
I now run the forum game Tales of Caelandonia http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3769.
Mechanics, rules and story outlines are found in the discussion page: http://townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8853
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