Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Design Journal: Saviours


As mentioned back HERE, I am working on a new RPG for my quarterly release called Saviours. I’ve written of Big Three on them and added in answers that respond to two questions raised by Ron and Vincent in THESE videos.

What this Game is About:

Saviours is about superheroes with super flaws. It’s about being powerful and being tragic. Though you save the populous of Ultraopolis time after time, they will turn on you in a second. Though you defeat your nemesis time and time again, there’s always another to take his place. You are powerful, no doubt. You have saved thousands, for sure. But the constant demands of the desperate citizens and the pressures from your enemies lean hard on your back and the temptation to turn against those who support you can look so gleaming at times. Society is doomed anyway, why hold on?

What the Characters Do:

Player-characters in Saviours are divided into two types: Heroes and Sidekicks. Heroes are faced with three main situations: Fight a Nemesis, Rescue your Beloved, or Avert a Disaster. Each of these carries potential benefits or costs to resolve. While doing nothing will certainly earn you the ire of your fans and your colleagues, doing something thrusts the temptation to abuse the great power bestowed upon the PCs. The Heroes must constantly balance gaining power with keeping control of themselves. Sidekicks are helpers to their mentor. They use their powers to augment that of the Hero’s. However, they are often the first to suffer the brunt of the Hero’s frustration and are sometimes forced to sacrifice themselves to save their leader.

What the Players Do:

Players in this game are charged with creating a Crises, how much help they will ask for while facing those Crises, and how much help they will give. They will have to closely manage the resources of their character(s) in order to defeat the obstacles that lay before them and to be sure none of them betray the Organization.

The Game Master in Saviours will provide the opposition to the players. He’ll take on the roles of the Nemeses, Henchmen, and Disasters the characters will fight. He will also provide Temptations for the characters to stumble and Hazards that the characters will have to overcome. His job will be multi-faceted as each player will have his own character with perhaps a sidekick and then choose which crisis to take on. It’s a lot to keep track of, but very rewarding to see how the players deal with the high stakes situations.

Why do I want to make a Superhero Game?

Well, first, I’ve never written a Superhero game. I’ve played plenty of heroes, but never with any real satisfaction. The Superhero genre is one many of us can relate to. Many of us got comics as youngsters that stirred our imaginations. I remember my first Spiderman comic. It was the one where the Scorpion is invented. I wish I still had it. It was awesome to me to see how a person with power could be tempted to use it for his own selfish purposes and how another person could use his power for the benefit of others. It was from that initial, childhood impression that Saviours would some day be born.

Why do I want to make a new Superhero Game?

I like games with strategic choice and tactical encounters. I like games that pose a challenge to me, that I had a part in creating, and ask me to figure out a way to overcome that challenge. I also like to narrate. I’m not very good at it, but I like to do it anyway. From these desires came several ideas for a game. None of the other Superhero games, I felt, gave me the kind of play experience I wanted or that others who are inclined like me want. I want strategic fights that are heavy in narration with consequences that matter (i.e. mechanically represented explicitly) at the end. I wanted a game where I got to make both the hero and the villain he faces. I wanted a game where I had the option of making a sidekick, but didn’t have to play him too. I wanted a game where people had to care about and support my character and where I had to care about and support their characters too. So basically, in the words of the Durham 3, I want others to make me look awesome, and I want the chance to make everyone else look awesome too!

So what’s next?

Well, I need to finish my first draft. It’s mostly done, but there’s a couple issues I need to hammer out. I have some tough choices to make. I’m sharing this here on my blog because I talk about design a lot, and I felt that I had better start showing my words in practice. So with Saviours, I’ll try to show how I implement my own design ideas. Today it was the Big Three. Of course, feedback is always welcome! :)




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When will a new game be coming out. I am looking for a great new design.
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