pnvq12
 member, 42 posts
Thu 12 Oct 2017
at 13:34
God Game advice for prospective game
@Horus, you are describing a game closer to Theogenesis which has a similar premise but isn't restricted to the one sentence "Acts".

@shapeshade Best advice I can give you after playing so many of these games is to really limit the number of players you have. With each god making an Act each day and you having to interpret and respond to these Acts your workload increases rather dramatically, especially past the First Aeon. Every game I've ever played ended because the GM couldn't keep up or their interpretations were deemed unfair.

Beyond that I think most of your issues could be avoided up front by scening your players well. There is always someone who wants to play the half-cocked trickster god or the evil god and ends up just derailing all of the fun in the 1st Aeon.
shapeshade
 member, 17 posts
Thu 12 Oct 2017
at 17:45
God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to pnvq12 (msg # 4):

quote:
@shapeshade Best advice I can give you after playing so many of these games is to really limit the number of players you have. With each god making an Act each day and you having to interpret and respond to these Acts your workload increases rather dramatically, especially past the First Aeon. Every game I've ever played ended because the GM couldn't keep up or their interpretations were deemed unfair.



Because of the typical RPOL player fatigue and disappearances, that hasn't been a problem in the game I've been in, but I can see how it could be, so I agree your advice is well-founded. I'd say a maximum of 7 or 8 rabid players or 11 or 12 laid-back, every-few-days players would be maximum (depending on how busy the GM might be)...
shapeshade
 member, 18 posts
Thu 12 Oct 2017
at 17:48
God Game advice for prospective game
In the game I'm in, the point is to gain power by doing awesome things and eventually gaining domains that way... but you can also battle another god if they're really cheesing you off, and if you win, and if you have enough God Points saved up to afford it, you can steal one of their domains.

But so far no one has started one of those battles, because:

--jerks don't want to risk losing a domain, because if you lose them all you're dead, and

--the idea that you might roll an unlucky 1 and the other fellow roll an insanely lucky 10 and therefore steal one of YOUR domains keeps everyone on the straight and narrow. So far, not one fight has broken out...
spectre
 member, 863 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Thu 12 Oct 2017
at 20:25
God Game advice for prospective game
In the twenty or so god games I've run, I haven't had issues with keeping people involved, keeping the game going or anything like that at least during the first few aeons of gameplay. Mostly it gets boring in the mid-to-late game. After the big play that one daring PC god makes, things inevitably start to get stale. That's when attrition begins to set in.

That said, I have had an extremely cool group that allowed us to make it to Aeon 8, game time for that was a year. We had drop-outs and problem players, but we were able to surmount that.

I've just been trying to set up a game with enough forethought to circumvent any such trivial nonsense that seriously hampers the game, yet also allows the maximum creativity and fun. Emphasis on the emerging tapestry, rather than on selfish gain for each player.

So really, I need a structure with rules to allow for that evil god to do his thing, without resorting to acts to combat acts only, and maybe an impartial system to resolve disputes/in-game battles. This should help make things fun, but do we have other ideas for spicing up the game? I like the domains idea, but what's this god-points concept? How does a god get points?

This message was last edited by the user at 20:27, Thu 12 Oct.

Talon
 member, 362 posts
Thu 12 Oct 2017
at 21:00
God Game advice for prospective game
Before digging into the system and tweaking the God Game rules, its important to tease out what makes these games so very popular and what weaknesses are inherent to the current design.

Strengths: Player agency. God games are nearly unparalleled in their ability to let players have an impact on the game, that IS the game. Quick pace. The healthiest God Games are getting updates constantly.

Weaknesses: GM is less a game master and more a neutral arbiter. In Dnd if players get bored you drop a dragon, if a GM does random changes in a God Game it upsets the delicate balance of cause and effect. Player Driven. The players in the game determine the plot, the races, the mcguffins, without strong players these games fail. GM Attention. GMs are mortal, they can only keep so many details in their heads, Things slip to the wayside, often frustrating players who made them.

If youíre going to tweak the system itís best to think how youíll play to the strengths or mitigate the weaknesses of the current system!
spectre
 member, 864 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Fri 13 Oct 2017
at 00:22
God Game advice for prospective game
Ok, nice addition Talon. Well put, it's necessary to understand what is great about the game before tweaking definitely. I appreciate the recap.

The strengths are great, it's why I'm drawn to them over and over again, I enjoy playing and GMing them. Updates are not usually an issue for me, and I state up front that I get weekends off, and as a turn it rolls right into Monday. ^_^

Those weaknesses are important to remember, and digging right in, generally there is a notes thread to address memorializing the various acts which is very helpful, sometimes you even get the player volunteer to help with remembering those acts.

Generally speaking I'm pretty good at that, though sometimes people throw something so crazy in there that no one understands it, much less interpreting the overall scope of it's effects. So good players who understand this are key.

GM attention is a good one to bring up, I've burned out on more than one of these before it's time. That's another reason why I'd like to build in some rules to make things interesting and especially to spice things up after the first aeon.

Finally, I enjoy the GM aspect, staying neutral but I also enjoy GM fiat, where I can actually dump a dragon on the lot if it seems appropriate in our cannon, maybe next time it will be a space blob. The gods are responsible for Acts, but not the actions of all the mortals, also not the actions of AO/creation itself. Adding my own flavor is what makes my games appealing.

So, beyond that, what's coming to mind for anyone? Anything? Bueller?
horus
 member, 295 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Fri 13 Oct 2017
at 00:50
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
pnvq12:
@Horus, you are describing a game closer to Theogenesis which has a similar premise but isn't restricted to the one sentence "Acts".


I had no idea.  I'm probably most strongly influenced by a couple of Roger Zelazny novels:  Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness.  Those and some non-trivial studies in mythologies varying from Japanese to Aztec to Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, etc., have really shaped my thinking.

With gods and goddesses there are also always outer and inner mysteries.
spectre
 member, 865 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Fri 13 Oct 2017
at 20:47
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to horus (msg # 10):

Are you referring to the rules made for <removed>'s game? Very interesting rules, I like them alot actually. They leave plenty open but give enough structure to make things interesting long term. It has a simple conflict resolution system in place. Cool stuff so far.

The action points idea, is interesting, and looks a lot like acts, but with some further definition and costs. Looks interesting. What would you add or subtract in your opinion on that system so far(if you are talking about that system at all)?

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 12:37, Sat 14 Oct.

horus
 member, 297 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sat 14 Oct 2017
at 06:23
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
spectre:
In reply to horus (msg # 10):

Are you referring to the rules made for <removed>'s game? Very interesting rules, I like them alot actually. They leave plenty open but give enough structure to make things interesting long term. It has a simple conflict resolution system in place. Cool stuff so far.


I didn't see where <removed> has posted here as yet, and have not seen the rules to which you are referring.  Did you actually mean to reply to someone else?

quote:
The action points idea, is interesting, and looks a lot like acts, but with some further definition and costs. Looks interesting. What would you add or subtract in your opinion on that system so far(if you are talking about that system at all)?


Now I admit to being truly lost and confused.  What I referred to by inner and outer mysteries in the post you replied to concerns the various religious trappings that grow up around a god.  There is the "outer faith" that just worships, believes in, and prays/sacrifices to their god/dess, then there are the members of the ritual priesthood that conduct the services for these worshippers.  The inner mysteries delve more deeply, and reveal to their elect hidden truths about how the god/dess really operates in the world.  Mystery schools may not even be of the priesthood at all, but might be composed of freethinkers (tirthika, which is also the Sanskrit word for heretic) who encounter their god/dess on a more intimate level and survive to not tell of it to any who are not prepared.

How is a god/dess' power measured in this game?  Is it by the number of their followers, the number and scope of their domains, or what?

As I said before, I'm not really an expert on this type of game, but I've always been intrigued by the myths and legends of humanity.  These have been used since time immemorial to attempt to link humanity to powers greater than humankind.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 12:40, Sat 14 Oct.

shapeshade
 member, 19 posts
Sat 14 Oct 2017
at 12:30
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to horus (msg # 12):

In <removed>'s game, which I am in, the main thing power-wise is the number of domains, although one can make things like combat artifacts (y'know, godly weapons) to help with conflicts

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 12:42, Sat 14 Oct.

Talon
 member, 363 posts
Sat 14 Oct 2017
at 14:41
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
Spectre: When I talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the game I wasn't trying to gauge whether you personally could meet each strength or weakness. I brought them up because I was under the impression you wanted to tweak the mechanics of the game. In order to do so I thought it might help to examine those features.

As you like GM fiat, and the rules currently don't allow for that, you could tweak them. Perhaps give each god a "Fated" occurrence. John, God of Corn, is fated to be betrayed, Barbara, Goddess of Hugs, is fated to have one of her creations go horribly awry. Jose, God of Bikes, is fated to one day have great influence over a world, but it will lead to unexpected results. This way you're baking in the GM fiat from the start so it won't feel arbitrary. One per god might not feel like a lot, but it would be plenty to shake things up once per Aeon.

Or you could say "Once per Aeon Ao shrugs away an existing rule of the Void" this can help mitigate the GM attention weakness by allowing the GM to occasionally remove rules they find fiddly or have other reasons to dislike.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 14:44, Sat 14 Oct.

spectre
 member, 866 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 02:12
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
First off, sorry for getting everyone in trouble with the mods. I didn't think I was in violation of the rules there, my apologies to you all and the mods.

Talon: I wasn't taking it as a critique of me, just pointing out where I think >some< of what you were mentioning was, in my opinion, already covered under the vanilla game or by good management practices, including GM's fiat as a Wrath of AO move, but it's not explicitly stated as such in some games I suppose. I do want to tweak the mechanics for sure, and I like your ideas on that. Shrugging off a rule and a fate, are interesting ideas. Maybe make it a random roll to choose about what fate you get. I like that, and it also keeps things from getting stale for any particular player. Rule destruction would be a nice one to have in the ole' toolbox as well. That sounds like a fantastic idea. Thank you for that!

What would you do to encourage cooperation and competition between gods? That's a behavior I'd like to see more of in god games, easily done in a regular rpg (give them a mission or goals) but a bit more difficult in an open ended game.

shapeshade: It's an interesting ruleset I'll admit. What determines how many action points a god gets per round?

horus: Sorry, I thought you were in that game from the way you spoke of domains. I do like your ideas of the inner and outer mysteries. To answer your question, in most of the god games there is simply a turn and all gods are treated equally, as in, everyone gets one Act per turn to use. This Act can be as powerful as you like, or as gentle as you need. It's all in your flavor description of your action post.


What do you folks think of special moves like powered by the apocalypse games? I think I could make up two special moves for each style of god that might play. Just to brainstorm on the fly here: Rulers, Caretakers, Corruptors, Teachers, Creators, Monsters, Dreamers, Metaphysicists, Villains.

So maybe for each of those God Game tropes I could come up with a couple special abilities, while still leaving it wide open for player agency. The problem I'm thinking of however would mean that each of these abilities would have to be meta mechanics, as in, to be valuable, they have to make something off limits to other gods, for which there is big reasons, not the least of which is when players fence off their creations from the rest of the game's players. Is there a way around this that makes sense without breaking the game completely?

For instance, what would happen if a Creator god has the ability to create new lifeforms, which would imply that the other god types couldn't make new life?

This message was last edited by the user at 02:28, Sun 15 Oct.

shapeshade
 member, 20 posts
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 02:20
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to spectre (msg # 15):

Newbie gods ("demigods") get 4 action points renewed a week. I'm a level 2 ("lesser diety"), so I get 5 a week, and it slowly goes up from there...

Also, I talked the GM into adding a 1-point extra ap point renewal per week to whomever the GM feels like giving a good role-playing reward to. Sometimes I get it... I did this week, didn't last week...
pnvq12
 member, 46 posts
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 03:48
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
I think the main limitation of the system is that domains, archetypes, what have you are worthless because the gods can take whatever action they desire so long as it fits the rules of the Acts.

Example: Bobo, God of Malice ACTS to create rainbows.

A terrible waste of effort but it's not a rules violation and has nothing to do with their domain. In fact, in all the god games I've played the only time these sort of things have come up is when interacting with mortals as it tints their perception of you.

Also, I feel as though you've already seen the fatal flaw with giving special powers to gods based on types or domains; it inherently has to limit or disadvantage the other gods in that aspect.

I guess in the realm of constructive advice you may want to break away from the original 1 post format and give AP as a sort of player fiat. Bobo, God of Malice has divine powers that they can use as they wish but to bring about change to the Void they have to expend AP. Its going to increase the workload but it should accomplish what I think you are trying to do here.
horus
 member, 298 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 04:16
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
I'd still be interested in playing or lurking, whichever spectre might prefer.
spectre
 member, 867 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 06:23
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to pnvq12 (msg # 17):

I'm seriously thinking of using action points, maybe acting on your domain could give a discounted action or make something free. Not sold on the idea, but just spit-balling.

Would anyone play a god game that limited your deities scope, so as to convey special abilities?

I did have a game with artifacts that based their inheriting them on the number of acts they devoted to a domain. Whoever had the most per aeon, received the artifacts. These had various meta effects like the Mantle of Death had a scythe that could command the afterlife and define it for your term.

As we stated before, it did prevent other gods from acting upon the afterlife specifically. Not too many people seemed to mind it then. What are your opinions?

Horus: Thanks, if this becomes a thing, I'll post it on this thread to end it.

This message was last edited by the user at 06:26, Sun 15 Oct.

Zadian
 member, 132 posts
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 09:56
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
I just thought of a possible idea for the players to work together. I suddenly thought of a board game I played ages ago. Cant remember the name of it. But, there was some Kind of timer that would lead to the destruction of the universe(including the gods themselves) unless certain conditions were met to prevent it. It made me think if you set up some type of condition where all the players would need to work together to accomplish so.e type of goal then it would prevent it. Then start the timer again for the new aeon.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:57, Sun 15 Oct.

horus
 member, 300 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 22:02
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to Zadian (msg # 20):

Hmm... the idea of Aeons proceeding in a cyclic form might work here.  There is/are usually one or more deities in a pantheon which seek to maintain balance between order and chaos and/or good and evil.

Some simplistic examples:

Ma'at was the ancient Egyptian goddess of truth, justice, and (for lack of a better word) balance.  She also provided the reference measure (her feather) used in the Weighing of the Heart when a soul entered the Duat or antechamber to the Underworld.  A minor deity associated with Ma'at is Maftet, who protected the king's person from venomous creatures like vipers and scorpions (which were considered to live outside of Ma'at).

The closest counterpart to Ma'at that comes to my mind is found in the Roman goddess Justitia (Justice), but the two are not exactly the same.

This brings to mind a question:  will deities in this game be restricted to one particular mythos?
pnvq12
 member, 47 posts
Mon 16 Oct 2017
at 02:06
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
In reply to spectre (msg # 19):

I don't think limiting the power of a god to their domains is necessarily a bad thing but you have to clarify the sort of hard and fast rules that come along with that. Are you limiting vague or broad domains such as Life, Death, Creation, etc.? If not then I can see the issue arising where one or two gods have so much leeway in what they can spend their AP on that they trifle in the realms of their more specialized counterparts.

Not sure if you want to offset that somehow. Perhaps have -4 AP for specialized domains but -2 for broad domains? Not really sure just shooting in the dark here.

As for rewarding the player with Artifacts for contributing to their own domain, the most isn't an artifact already something they can make with AP? Or is this some special item that has powers outside that which they are capable of replicating.

@horus I might have missed it but is this game even set in a particular mythos? I was under the impression that the game didn't adhere to any existing religious pantheons.
spectre
 member, 868 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Mon 16 Oct 2017
at 06:12
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
Zadian:
I just thought of a possible idea for the players to work together. I suddenly thought of a board game I played ages ago. Cant remember the name of it. But, there was some Kind of timer that would lead to the destruction of the universe(including the gods themselves) unless certain conditions were met to prevent it. It made me think if you set up some type of condition where all the players would need to work together to accomplish so.e type of goal then it would prevent it. Then start the timer again for the new aeon.

That is an incredible idea. Awesome, that one is going in the toolbox. Thanks!

horus:
In reply to Zadian (msg # 20):

Hmm... the idea of Aeons proceeding in a cyclic form might work here.  There is/are usually one or more deities in a pantheon which seek to maintain balance between order and chaos and/or good and evil.

That also is a cool idea, making alignment mean something in the context of the larger mission that Zadian wizarded out of that amazing brain of his. So Evil aligned gods must choose to support the evil option with an act or two per *mission* to help develop, or maybe Good Aligned deities could get the team to push for their version of utopia. Pantheons would be a thing of the past I think if you went by alignment teams. Might be really interesting.

pnvq12:
In reply to spectre (msg # 19):

I don't think limiting the power of a god to their domains is necessarily a bad thing but you have to clarify the sort of hard and fast rules that come along with that. Are you limiting vague or broad domains such as Life, Death, Creation, etc.? If not then I can see the issue arising where one or two gods have so much leeway in what they can spend their AP on that they trifle in the realms of their more specialized counterparts.

Not sure if you want to offset that somehow. Perhaps have -4 AP for specialized domains but -2 for broad domains? Not really sure just shooting in the dark here.

As for rewarding the player with Artifacts for contributing to their own domain, the most isn't an artifact already something they can make with AP? Or is this some special item that has powers outside that which they are capable of replicating.

@horus I might have missed it but is this game even set in a particular mythos? I was under the impression that the game didn't adhere to any existing religious pantheons.

The artifact idea was just something I'd cooked up for an old game. There were merits though, and they were not the artifacts that you create with AP to be tossed into the world somewhere. This was a stylized representation of some meta mechanics tinkering. Like I had one that made it so that they could create first life and determine the mode of their organic physiology and form. From that primordial soup, all other life must spring. It was an interesting story idea and it gave the universe time to develop before life started. Another was the ability to lord over the afterlife and command of it's hordes. Any who, it was supposed to be an interesting new ability and reward for gaining domains.

The AP method would cover this as domains are what you use to gather more power. So it's probably a moot point.
Zadian
 member, 133 posts
Mon 16 Oct 2017
at 07:13
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
 What if to kind of go along with the timer idea. where there is another god that always exists after each destruction into the next and tries to destroy the void and all the works of the new gods. Kind of like an opposing Ao, Oa if you will. lol. Controlled by GM or even by players in turn. And this Oa will use his acts in opposition to all. And everyone while they are trying to create etc will have to from time to time use acts to work against this Oa. Good and evil must work together to stop this threat as it effects them all.

  Rewards could go to those who used more acts or a certain amount to counter Oa. And even penalties given to the ones using the least or under a certain amount of acts. Each idea tweaked to your discretion of course.
spectre
 member, 869 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Tue 17 Oct 2017
at 05:06
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
That's a cool idea too Zadian. There could be different kinds of missions, the opposing Oa was interesting, but at the risk of sounding lazy, that would be hard to pull off above all that. That's GM fiat right there, a slam dunk if you wanted to do the extra work or trust a player enough to play it without being a jerk.
Jhaelan
 member, 212 posts
 Prefers roles to rolls
 Based in UTC+1
Tue 17 Oct 2017
at 05:16
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
Previous techniques that have worked for me (in a now defunct campaign I think you played in @spectre):
  • Bringing in Oa as a God NPC working to undo creation
  • Bringing in overarching forces of Chaos and Law, who might adopt players (i.e. they would get titles or a tweak on their Acts)

Elsewhere I've seen varying applications of Domains, ranging from simple rewards if you Act in character to a limiting players to be more like mythological hero's journey gods (i.e. visions, blessings, priests with an associated action point mechanic) and setting the campaign post-creation
spectre
 member, 870 posts
 Myriad paths fell
 away from that moment....
Thu 19 Oct 2017
at 23:54
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
I like those ideas, domains as a whole seems good and encourage roleplaying through the lens of their domains. I'd like to make the domains idea more concrete in general, more beneficial than titles. I'm hesitant to use Oa as a NPC, since I'd rather like to keep my time overhead down if possible. It makes being GM somewhat more fun and less like work. I would be willing to try conversions as a bonus or priests if they prefer. Something like that would be cool.
horus
 member, 310 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Fri 27 Oct 2017
at 00:30
Re: God Game advice for prospective game
I happened to think of some possibly valuable source material:

Sir James Fraser's The Golden Bough goes a little beyond most mythological sources these days, and gets into some rather *aherm* adult aspects of mythology.  Strangely enough, I first found this book on the shelves in the library of my mother's hometown back in the seventies while I was doing a research paper in high school.  Fraser's work relating to the various mystery schools of the ancient world is worth spending some time with.

Joseph Campbell's books are also worth reading if you are looking for background, commonalities, and discussion of archetypes.  The Power of Myth and The Hero's Journey should still be accessible via most good libraries.

Just some more grist for the mill.

Domains "more beneficial than titles" are domains indeed.  True domains entail their own set of unique deifying abilities and powers.  Where it would get interesting is collaborations between gods and goddesses with complementary domains.

Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the Greek pantheon, was frequently involved in making things that enhanced a god's or goddess' power in their domain.  The cost was usually that the deity requesting such an item had to contribute some part of their being to the making of the item.