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Abyssal Clockwork

Discussion in 'Interest Checks' started by Flimzy, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. "I'd by lying to you if I said I truly understood what has happened here. We should have known something was going to go wrong when we heard that wretched clicking though the days. I just figured some local mage was building his do-dad a little too loudly. "

    "I suppose in a sense, I may have been right..."

    "Ultimately, the ground opened beneath us like a simple trap door. Those unlucky enough to be in the open at the time have not been heard from since. What little I could see was lit by eerie emerald wisps that seemed to drag the machinery along as an act of labor. It was a horrifying sight. Within it, gears of cold black turned among each other, like an absurdly proportioned clocktower that stretched into the abyss."

    "Though we begged his highness, he has not sent anyone to help us. Or... Well... Not after the first batch. No one who went down there with the intent to find the source ever came back out. Not with answers. It's been a while since anyone cared that much about it. Today, it's a warped tourist attraction. A place exclusively for looters no proper sense of risk to get rich quick."

    "But I apologize. You already know all about that. Please, pick from my wares and go. I'm much too sick of getting attached."


    I'm going to be running a deathtrap dungeon statplay here. You will be delving into a megadungeon and trying to get as much as you can from it before returning back. Your resources like HP and MP will persist until exiting the dungeon, and EXP will be rewarded for finding things of value to your characters and returning back with them. Most importantly, character death is permanent.

    Unlike a normal statplay, you will be asked to dedicate some of your skills to dealing with traps throughout the dungeon, finding treasure, and avoiding combat, rather than necessarily excelling at it.

    I spent a while thinking about how I was going to handle this in the statplay format, but we’re going to be dealing with something I call the “questions system.” Many RPGs, such as Dungeon World, use questions built into their skills to give players a strict guideline on interacting with the world in this way. When making skills, you can give them a question, which will come with a cost based on its helpfulness. Here are some examples:

    This is one of the most generic ones possible. It only costs 1 MP because it’s so limited in scope. I will reply with the answer, yes/no, and what you saw that let you know that. It’s up to your character to work around it in RP.

    This one is more powerful, “what here is magical” is simple enough, but the follow-up could give you some helpful information. With more complex questions like that, I will sometimes have to work something out on the spot, giving you more to work with, which is always a good thing for you when you’re exploring a deathtrap dungeon.

    This one is different because it’s intended to be used in combat. When you activate a skill like this, I’ll always give you something to work with. The battlefield will sometimes change to give you something to interact with regarding your use of these in-battle questions. I’m not an evil genie; I’m going to do my best to work with you in making these skills helpful. Not some vague cheeky answer like "things stronger than it."

    This is an interesting one. It could be used in or out of battle depending. Obviously the flavor of your skills is going to mean a lot for when I let you activate things. As I mentioned before, if you use something like this in battle, I may update to map to show you “the escape cells” or whatever matches the situation.

    Cycling mana is still a thing, but expect shenanigans when you attempt to use it. The Abyssal Clockwork is a very magically strange place, and it’s hard to catch a break.

    By its nature as a retro loot-based dungeon crawl, the story will be somewhat light. I don’t need an RP post every turn, just when appropriate, like when using your question skills and following up on the answers, using combat skills for the first time, or when addressed specifically by me or a player. I really don’t want mini novels unless the situation REALLY calls for it. I’d rather everyone just play their roles and have fun. That being said, there IS a story (think Etrian Odyssey) so I do expect you to roleplay. Don’t join and then never give us some flavor to work with.

    If you have any questions or think I forgot to mention something important, please do speak up.
  2. I'd be interested in this!

    To be definitive (and I assume we're using the ShadowSystem), are there any other alterations to the profile aside from the Questions system? And how is the dungeon-crawling handled? Is it more freeform that breaks into a statistical battle only when an actual battle occurs (with Skills able to be used out of battle for the questions), or do you constantly navigate a statistical grid while in the dungeon? Also, are our characters naturally bound into a party, or are we more in control of our groups (some characters can go off on their own, and some can band together if they want)?

    And, once more to be definitive, will we still get Exp from defeating enemies?
  3. Other than the questions system, the profiles will be entirely normal. The only odd thing will be the exp rate, which is minor. 
    Dungeon crawling is mostly freeform, with the activation of the question skills. I might throw in a grid if I feel the need to make a minigame out of a certain trap. 

    You never get Exp for killing anything. You might find things on the corpse that you can sell, but that's always about what you're fighting and why, rather than how strong it is.

    The question about parties is a really interesting one. I was just going to round up everyone and throw them in all at once. I don't think I have a problem with splitting the party, but I might have to intervene if things get ridiculous for me.
  4. Okay so it seems like no one besides Cerby is really interested in this.

    Can I ask if there's anything that would make it more appealing to people, or reasons why the pitch isn't appealing?

    Would you guys be more or less likely to join if I switched systems? Dungeon would would be a good fit for this story, which is a skill check based system where failure causes events to move the story forward. I reworked statplaying because I figured it'd be more familiar, but maybe you all just find that boring at this point?
  5. I'd be interested, would be cool to see an rp where the solution (and main form of character progression) isn't just "stab it until it dies."
  6. I'm a bit hesitant since I'm still not 100% sure how this question system works, but this is sufficiently interesting.
  7. Alright, because this is a permadeath RP anyway, it shouldn't be hard to get people in later on. As such, I am willing to start when I get profiles from you three. Anyone is still welcome to express interest as they work, or even after we've started.

    To get us going with the question skills strong, you will all start at level 3. 
    Other than the fact that you should have some skills dedicated to questions, the sheets are normal. 

    Do try to keep in mind when developing you meta that this will be an endurance run a lot of the time, so burst, for example, isn't going to do as well as it might in other places. At least for the first batch of characters, I'll be reasonable about retcons to skills until everything is running smoothly.

    If you have questions about... uh... "Questions" as you make your character, I recommend you post about it here, so we can all learn from it.

    I technically have a working MP formula at this point, but for now, I'm going to redirect to Shadow anyway, with the exception of questions. 
  8. I think this would allow players more control of the story and exploration rather than being blindly guided through chapters. If I weren't in such a slump right now I'd sign up since I'm intrigued by making questions work.
  9. I think you might be negatively surprised in that regard. Because we're going into a dungeon, I actually have excessive control over what you can and can't do. Even more than in our usual linear stories. I think a lot of the GMs here are willing to be flexible if your character goes outside of the expected bounds in a reasonable way, even if things seem railroaded on the surface.

    I tried a statistical sandbox once before under the name "Nonexistent Enigma", but I was not ready to be a GM.

    Now, I still think player input will be a big part of this. It's a deathtrap dungeon. A mysterious underworld where everything is dangerous. How the players react will determine what situations they find themselves in, rather than truly preplanned "encounters." That will tell the story. That combined with their reaction to the lore of the dungeon.

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