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  • The Skotos Seven

    Questions on how to fill out our proposal form? How to build worlds? How we'll be selecting one of the Skotos Seven? Please ask them here.

    Shannon Appel
    Skotos

  • #2
    Hi Shannon,

    I have several questions:

    1. Will the Skotos Seven be designing games for new worlds, or for ones you have already announced, or both? I ask, because since I have extensive LARP writing experience with
    1927 Lovecraft country and Paranoia, I really like the concept of Og.

    2. Can a person do both stages for one world and design an entirely new world? For example, I have in my back pocket, a Paranoia grand theater, a Lovecraft country stage, and two entirely new worlds. Can I do all that as just one of the seven?

    3. One of my ideas requires more than just a text interface. It requires forms and submissions of moves for a tactical scenario a'la old play-by-mail games. Is this beyond the current frame of what Skotos is doing?

    4. You ask about staffing the game. Are these staff members unpaid volunteers who get free hours in return, or do they also get money? Do I have to have a staffing plan set up in my proposal or can I rely on the compentent member of Skotos to help me staff my games? What sort of staffing plans do the already established worlds, stages, and thaters have?

    5. Am I jepordizing my chance to become one of the Skotos seven by posting this publically without even the aid of a spell checker?

    Thanks,

    Mike

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mike (Buggy):
      1. Will the Skotos Seven be designing games for new worlds, or for ones you have already announced, or both? I ask, because since I have extensive LARP writing experience with 1927 Lovecraft country and Paranoia, I really like the concept of Og.
      Some of the Skotos Seven may be working with us on some of the existing titles. We only recently obtained these brands, well after we planned the Skotos Seven, so we had not integrated our ideas about how they would work until recently. We were pleasantly surprised to receive one credible proposal at GenCon to help us with one of our own titles, Golden Gate: 1849, so even that is an option.

      Our plans for Lovecraft Country & Paranoia currently are to create a Grand Theatre (like Castle Marrach) that would be a home base with it's own plots and game play. However, later characters could be brought into related Stages (small-scale, short-term, LARP-style games). For example, the players of Lovecraft Country may be given an opportunity to raise funds and personnel in Arkham to travel to Abydos, a city of the dead in Egypt. Once the funds are raised the Stage would begin for those players involved.

      2. Can a person do both stages for one world and design an entirely new world? For example, I have in my back pocket, a Paranoia grand theater, a Lovecraft country stage, and two entirely new worlds. Can I do all that as just one of the seven?
      Yes -- in fact, we are going to suggest that all of the Skotos Seven start with a Stage, either in their world or as a stand-alone. This way they can get real player feedback on the game design before they dig themselves in too deep. We are planning to do that with all of our future games. For instance, we plan to start with a Portsmouth Square Stage in Golden Gate: 1849 so that we can experiment with various game design issues of an Old-West online game.

      3. One of my ideas requires more than just a text interface. It requires forms and submissions of moves for a tactical scenario a'la old play-by-mail games. Is this beyond the current frame of what Skotos is doing?
      No, all of our capabilities are web-centric -- it is possible to create a complete web-based game with no chat interface. In fact, as you will see with Castle Marrach, the intro sequence will be all web pages.

      4. You ask about staffing the game. Are these staff members unpaid volunteers who get free hours in return, or do they also get money? Do I have to have a staffing plan set up in my proposal or can I rely on the compentent member of Skotos to help me staff my games? What sort of staffing plans do the already established worlds, stages, and thaters have?
      It depends what you mean by staff. StoryTellers typically are unpaid (there are some exceptions discussed in the StoryTeller section of the web site). However, they get a number of privileges including priority in signup for some games, and there may be some specially run Stages that are for StoryTellers only as a reward.

      5. Am I jepordizing my chance to become one of the Skotos seven by posting this publically without even the aid of a spell checker?
      No

      -- Christopher Allen

      [This message has been edited by ChristopherA (edited 08-16-2000).]

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for your replies. Expect a slew of paper mail from me within a couple of weeks.

        The Skotos Seven... It still sounds like the name of a group of radicals from the 1960s. "Free the Skotos Seven!"

        Mike

        Comment


        • #5
          I was wandering if it is still possible to submit our application, if so please let me know, and I will either email or fax a copy to you.
          Yes, it is possible to submit applications through August 31st. However, as you approach the 31st there is less of an opportunity for us to comment back to you in order to get changes and clarifications. This would allow you to have the chance to modify your proposal based on our feedback before that deadline. We will be making our final decisions by the end of September.

          We just completed a massive redesign of our web site last week, and it now includes more information on becoming one of the Skotos Seven. It describes the types of games that we're looking for, what criteria we're going to use for selecting the Skotos Seven, and talks about a number of different issues of interest to future StoryBuilders.

          In particular take a look at our StoryBuilders home page at http://www.skotos.net/storybuilders. I suggest reading *everything* in the StoryBuilder section of the web pages and read all the postings in the StoryBuilder Forum. These areas will describe what we're looking for and the "Becoming a StoryBuilder" articles describe our process.

          The proposal form is in PDF form in the StoryBuilders section of our website as well -- the main thing that we need from that is the signature page, please fax or mail that to us. Once we have it, the rest of the proposal or modifications to the proposal can be emailed to us.

          If you have any more questions, please feel free to post to the StoryBuilder section of our forums--that way everyone will get to see the answers!

          -- Christopher Allen

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a few questions. Based on the replies here (and they have been very informative btw) does it assume the initial characters in a given stage are created by the Storybuilders? or is it up to the Storybuilder on how character generation occurs?

            I have a couple of really good ideas that ideally begin on a Stage then could easily graduate to Grand Theatre and possibly a World, but the initial Stage would depend more on my active participation over character generation (minor things in the background). As I'm relatively new at doing MUD'S and MUSH'S I'm a longtime tabletop RPG player as well as online gamer. I'm a little hazy on how characters are "traditionally" generated. Or do we design the generation process how it would best work according to our own vision?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kenjiro:
              I have a few questions. Based on the replies here (and they have been very informative btw) does it assume the initial characters in a given stage are created by the Storybuilders? or is it up to the Storybuilder on how character generation occurs?
              Yes, although it optional, I suspect most Stages will have pre-generated characters. We have a number of special features in support of this, in particular, the recall command. You can type 'recall mike' and it will give you all the things you remember about mike. You can also 'remember "mike doesn't like rats"' and add that to your recall list.

              For example, a StoryTeller, you can take an existing setting (say a mansion) and create new characters for it, each with a different background, history, and goals. Then schedule the Stage, and see what happens. In more social conflict oriented Stages, no stats or skills even have to be given out, only memories.

              I have a couple of really good ideas that ideally begin on a Stage then could easily graduate to Grand Theatre and possibly a World, but the initial Stage would depend more on my active participation over character generation (minor things in the background). As I'm relatively new at doing MUD'S and MUSH'S I'm a longtime tabletop RPG player as well as online gamer. I'm a little hazy on how characters are "traditionally" generated. Or do we design the generation process how it would best work according to our own vision?
              There will be more articles on creating characters for Stages over the next few months. Personally, one of the places that I think Stages authors can learn the most from are LARPs (live action role playing.) There are a number of sources for LARPs available on the net, with extensive inter-related character information.

              Some Stages may offer more choice to the players by letting them design their own characters -- this is supported as well. However, it probably requires StoryBuilding privileges to do so as it requires more custom work.

              -- Christopher Allen

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ChristopherA:
                Some Stages may offer more choice to the players by letting them design their own characters -- this is supported as well. However, it probably requires StoryBuilding privileges to do so as it requires more custom work.
                I am a bit confused. Do players create their own characters, or does the storybuilder provide a set of characters for people to play, or does the system 'generate' a character for a new player? At first I thought each player got to create their own character, but the above quote seems to say otherwise.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JeffCrook:
                  I am a bit confused. Do players create their own characters, or does the storybuilder provide a set of characters for people to play, or does the system 'generate' a character for a new player? At first I thought each player got to create their own character, but the above quote seems to say otherwise.
                  It is game specific -- in Castle Marrach, you choose your own character name and get to choose some simple characteristics, hair color, etc. The game sets some other characteristics. You start knowing nothing about the game or the people of the game or the people of the Castle (unless you have read the players guide which is optional).

                  Some Stages work this way as well, however, most Stages are 'cast'. You as the StoryBuilder define a number of characters, give them characteristics, memories, props, etc.

                  When the Stage is advertised for players, the players enter a 'green room' to pick and choose characters. Not all characters will be available to all potential players, some may have requirements like having played in a prequel to the stage, to not be ranked an apprentice storyplayer, etc., or even only be available to a single person who you have pre-cast.

                  Once the Stage is completely cast, either the game begins immediately (in the case of a stage of short duration, say less then 12 hours) or an email is sent to all players cast saying when the start date and time begins. In some cases of long-duration Stages, a list of 'understudies' may be made to allow for an inactive player to be replaced.

                  On minor confusing element in our terminology is that senior StoryTellers can also create and modify character information in a pre-existing Stage, allowing them to customize it to their needs. We expect to have a large variety of 'pre-built' Stages, some with plots, some just settings.

                  -- Christopher Allen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Some Stages work this way as well, however, most Stages are 'cast'. You as the StoryBuilder define a number of characters, give them characteristics, memories, props, etc."
                    -- Christopher Allen
                    When you are designing and defining a stage, would you prefer that a 'cast' is set up in loose terms with a more defined backstory, or would you prefer better defined character leads and a looser format with general 'ends' in mind?

                    When defining and creating your main characters, do you think it would be better to define the characters as 'classes' and then build say 3-5 characters with all the same tone and tendancies for each class? That way you can build each specific character with differences in order to give your players a variety to choose from. Just curious. Brian

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Brian Pettera:
                      When you are designing and defining a stage, would you prefer that a 'cast' is set up in loose terms with a more defined backstory, or would you prefer better defined character leads and a looser format with general 'ends' in mind?
                      I don't know if there is a 'preference' for either one, it really depends what works. Online Stages is really a new type of game, and we don't know all what works or doesn't work. What we do know is that we can learn a lot from the experience of LARP game designers.

                      We have a couple of experienced LARP designers here in our forum -- any of you want to comment?

                      When defining and creating your main characters, do you think it would be better to define the characters as 'classes' and then build say 3-5 characters with all the same tone and tendancies for each class? That way you can build each specific character with differences in order to give your players a variety to choose from.
                      From a technical point of view, you can create what we call an 'ur' character, that has all the default characteristics that you want to have for a group of people, then only modify those individual characteristics that are different in an individual character of that group.

                      For instance, you could create an UR-CIA character with generic memories and skills that any CIA agent should have, then give individual agents additional memories and skills.

                      This capability certainly makes things easier to develop, though I'm not sure if I've really answered your question.

                      -- Christopher Allen

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brian Pettera:

                        When you are designing and defining a stage, would you prefer that a 'cast' is set up in loose terms with a more defined backstory, or would you prefer better defined character leads and a looser format with general 'ends' in mind?
                        Originally posted by ChristopherA:

                        I don't know if there is a 'preference' for either one, it really depends what works. Online Stages is really a new type of game, and we don't know all what works or doesn't work. What we do know is that we can learn a lot from the experience of LARP game designers.

                        We have a couple of experienced LARP designers here in our forum -- any of you want to comment?
                        It really depends on the stage. For Galactic Emperor is Dead, I created a number of characters with some history and background and abilities, but allows the players to fill in the details of their culture and races.

                        However, it is also possible to play the game allowing the players to create everything. Full rules for character creation were sent to Skotos. The overarching storyline, the election of a new Galactic Emperor, isn't harmed by player created characters (within certain parameters, such as the player created characters are all represnetatives of their homeworlds).

                        On the other hand, I also sent in a proposal for a very small stage for Paranoia in which all the characters, their histories and their abilities are all pregenerated by me.

                        So, it really depends on the game.

                        ---

                        This touches on my divisions for styles of LARPs (really, this touches onto online entertainment; you'll see how). In general, there are two styles of play: theater style and adventure style.

                        In a theater style LARP, the focus is on the interactions between the player characters. All of the plots and motivations are entirely within the PC group. There are few, if any, NPCs. This means that the antagonists are also PCs, although they might not see themselves as that and might see themselves more as protagonists. Most Minds Eye Theatre LARPs are theater-style.

                        Adventure style LARPs focus more on the interactions between PCs and the world. They usually have a cohesive adventuring party of PCs with little intra-PC rivalry or tension. The conflict comes with the world around them, with NPCs, monsters, traps, and puzzles. Most live-combat LARPs, such as NERO are like this.

                        Some people prefer to chat and scheme, other prefer to puzzle solve, or kill monsters. Online worlds, like Everquest, or the games of Skotos need to be able to cater to both types, or be able to clearly explain what the game is about. If you want to kill monsters, for example, don't play Galatic Emperor is Dead as it is more theater-style and consists of politicing and diplomacy between the players.

                        The tendancy in LARPs is for theater-style games to have pregenerated characters (this is not true in mind's eye theater, but is in most other theater style larps I've played in) and adventure style larps to allow the player to make his or her own characters.

                        It makes sense, in a way. If you want to have a lot of politics and scheming in your game, you probably want to write the character histories yourself to make sure that people have proper motivation.

                        On the other hand, if the game focuses on an adventure and interactions with NPCs, monsters, and puzzles, allowing people to create their own characters gives them more freedom in what they can play and how they plan to act in your game.

                        So think about what kinds of interaction your stage will have: internal or external. And then you'll have a good starting point.

                        ---

                        Think about this 1: There are, essential three types of stories: person vs. person, person vs. nature, and person vs. himself. Theater-style is pvp, adventure-style is pvn. Can there be a pvself LARP or interactive online game?

                        Think about this 2: For every generalization I make, there are a hundred counterexamples. Does that mean the generalization does not hold true?

                        Mike

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Funny you should mention NERO, I was one of the founding members of NERO DFW. Theres much to be learned from LARP'ing.. such as encumbrance... is IMPORTANT

                          In fact I wrote another LARP system, Had a lot of fun with it too. That system is where I designed my magic system for my MUD
                          And THAT is a Big ball of goodness*

                          Malichor

                          *Big ball of goodness may be substituted with Utter ball of crap with no prior notice, some restrictions may apply and quantity is limited.
                          To learn more, please enclose a self addressed, stamped antelope.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Buggy really hit on most of the big topics I could think of as a LARP writer.

                            The game world I work within has been high NPC (or cast as we call them) interaction with the players. Recently however, the players have been able to take much of the plot into their own hands and my cast and I have been able to sit back and watch, it is quite pleasant really. The only draw back to this is there is a definate lack of some control on my part as the storyteller, and a lot more work as I now have to pay very close attention to what the players are doing so that I can create appropriate reactions to such.

                            In a cast driven plot, you as the storyteller are doing the leading the players do the following. But in this player driven scenerio, its the storyteller who has to be on his/her toes to keep up to the players.

                            At least such is my experience.

                            Of course, it isn't too hard to gently steer players back on track, if and when it is needed with a little cast interaction or some gentle plot force ( a letter arrives, a neighbouring city is under siege and refugees arrive, etc).
                            -----------------------------
                            -Erica
                            Formerly Arrion & Darra

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here's a count of the proposals received by August 31st:

                              TOTAL - 77
                              • Fantasy - 40
                              • High - 10
                              • Tolkien or AD&D like - 7
                              • Modern/Contemporary - 5
                              • Post-Apocalyptic - 3
                              • Arabic - 2
                              • Dark - 2
                              • Dreams - 2
                              • Low - 2
                              • Oriental - 2
                              • Anthromorphic - 1
                              • Celtic - 1
                              • Mystery - 1
                              • (in) Space - 1
                              • Swashbuckling - 1
                              • Science Fiction - 19
                              • Survival - 5
                              • Space Opera - 3
                              • War - 3
                              • Cyberpunk - 2
                              • Generational Ships - 2
                              • Genetic Manipulation - 1
                              • Espionage - 1
                              • Psionics - 1
                              • Post-Apocalyptic - 1
                              • Historical - 7
                              • Age of Exploration - 2
                              • Privateer - 1
                              • Renaissance - 1
                              • Steampunk - 2
                              • Western - 1
                              • (Modern) Horror & Supernatural - 4
                              • Secrets - 2
                              • Espionage - 1
                              • Vampire - 1
                              • (Modern) Noir - 3
                              • Crime - 2
                              • Humor - 1
                              • (Modern) Soap Operas - 2
                              • Humor - 1
                              • Mystery - 1
                              • (Modern) Adventure - 1
                              • (Other) Super Heroes - 1


                              -- Christopher Allen

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