Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #4: Beyond ChaoticGood

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warpweaver
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Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #4: Beyond ChaoticGood

Post by warpweaver » Thu May 17, 2007 9:33 pm

Beyond Chaotic Good.

In Dungeoneer Adventures, there is no such thing as alignment.
Heroes are good, monsters are evil.

The glory/peril system reflects these distinctions and provides tangible rewards for heroism in the following manner:
Heroes gain glory for fighting monsters.
Heroes gain peril if they slay supporting characters.
Heroes become monsters if they initiate conflict with other heroes.
It's that simple.
(See design diary #1 "The Perilous Life" for more on this topic.)

Having removed the axis of good vs. evil from the game and replaced it with the glory\peril system, do we leave the players hanging without interesting moral choices?
No way.
We don't need alignment, because we have something better.

I love the concept of alignment. Sometimes I reflect on what I have learned from so many hours of trying my best to always play my alignment, whatever character I chose. Some days I wonder how much of my own rebellious nature is a result of the deep seated belief (which I know I share with many of you) that chaotic good is the best alignment to play. Sure lawful neutral can be interesting for all sorts of role playing reasons, but heck, everyone knows chaotic good is the way to go.

In DGA (Dungeoneer Adventures), there are several important decisions at character creation; template, calling, race and culture.

When you pick your template, you decide how you will confront evil, with melee, magic or a blend of both. Your choice of template helps define your roll in the party and determines just how you are going to start kicking monster ass.

When you pick your calling, you choose why it is your hero has chosen to adventure, for honor, justice, curiosity, reknown, belief or revenge. This choice, your heroes calling to adventure, defines why you are a hero. Calling gives you a sense of moral priorities. Some callings are simple (reknown), while others are complex (belief).
Each of the callings gives your here the necessary justification for busting down doors and taking on the horde of slavering glory fountains, excuse me, I meant monsters, ... that populate the grim fantasy world of dungeoneer.

In addition to acting as a guide for role-playing, calling has a direct and tangible effect on game play. Heroes get bonuses when they act in ways which reflect their calling. Following your calling will help you draw cards, gain glory, shed peril and provide bonuses to certain types of tests and challenges. To help get you in the mood for some roleplaying, calling provides specific bonuses during the role-play phase. Yes, I said it, role-play phase. Tune in next month for more details!

Some of the major difference between alignment and calling are as follows:
You get consistent meaningful bonuses if you play your hero according to your calling.
Heroes with different callings work well together.
Callings are less abstract than alignments (what does chaotic really mean?).

Thats it, in a nutshell.

To give you a taste of one of my favorite callings, here is the hero briefing for those who calling is curiosity.

Curiosity: Your hero is driven by insatiable curiosity. You love to learn esoteric facts, solve strange puzzles and resolve mysteries. You are infatuated by new spells, odd maneuvers, indecipherable sigils and ancient riddles.
Roleplaying: Playing a curious character is always fun. You help keep the party moving forward because you must know what is underneath that last unexplored map tile, or what is needed to fulfill the next quest. With a curious character, you do not need to be afraid to make mistakes, as you can always consider them a good learning experience. Curious heroes can also add humor to the game. Sometimes they are just plain goofy, wizards who are more concerned with getting a bottle of fiend brains than they are interested in looking out for traps, for example, in other cases they are obsessed with the numerous odd and strange elements of the world of Tarniss.
New to the Game?: Newcomers do well with curious characters. Play as if you are never afraid to ask a question, no matter how stupid it might sound!
Getting Along: Curious heroes can get along well with any other calling. Make sure you spend some time in the role-play phase asking the other heroes "Why?". This will let you express your curiosity and help them clearly enunciate their position on issues letting the whole party know who has what type of agenda.
Curiosity on Honor: The most fascinating of objects and the most treasured information is often the best defended. Working with an honor-bound hero is as simple and straightforward as your honorable ally is predictable and reliable. Help him defeat the monsters and he will help you reveal the mysteries.

To satisfy some of yours, here is the blurb for honor on curiosity.

Honor on Curiosity: You may have to bail these guys out of hot water now and then but try not to be dismissive when they have another strange idea. Sometimes those hunches of theirs end up leading you to hideous monsters or putting powerful treasures into your hands. Keep an eye on them and let them know that when they need a hand, you are there for them. In return, you can trust that they will share what they learn with you and lead you to many great heroic opportunities.

Back in 1998 when I had a chance to speak with Gary Gygax, I asked him what he felt was the most important lesson he had imparted to the world through the medium of the role playing game.

"If advanced dungeons and dragons players take away a useful lesson from the play of the game it is that law is not always good. The axis of freedom and chaos vs. law and order is as important as that of good and evil."

Thanks Gary, for bringing us untold worlds of adventure, but most importantly, for making clear that *why* we fight is as important as *how*.

Onward to glory!
Last edited by warpweaver on Fri May 18, 2007 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
bye for now,
richard pocklington

Banesfinger
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Re: Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #4: Beyond Chaotic

Post by Banesfinger » Fri May 18, 2007 5:44 am

Looks great.
A few questions:
warpweaver wrote:Heroes are good, monsters are evil...Heroes become monsters if they initiate conflict with other heroes.
Do you mean 'monsters' in the traditional sense (e.g., green skin, fangs, horns), or can a monster be a cheating, human pirate, for example?
warpweaver wrote:When you pick your template, you decide how you will confront evil, with melee, magic or a blend of both...you pick your calling, you choose why it is your hero has chosen to adventure, for honor, justice, curiosity, reknown, belief or revenge.
How would you define the iconic rogue out for riches? Would that be a melee template with a reknown (riches?) calling?

Finally, does Goodman Games have a (ballpark) release date for this game?

warpweaver
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Calling Questions

Post by warpweaver » Fri May 18, 2007 9:26 am

On Monsters:
Monster is a designation which can be applied to all sorts of creatures, from hideous green-skinned, three horned fiends, to cunning pirate queens.
The Dungeonlord may, for a few peril, transform a character into a monster at the end of a role-play phase.
Similarly, monsters may, under some circumstances, be converted into characters or even followers.
Monster and character are classifications which defines the mode of interaction (combat or roleplay) and the consequences of challenges (glory or peril).

The Reknown Calling:
If you want to play a classic rogue, you should consider a balanced template with the reknown calling. The reknown calling represents a hero who is out for glory. The roleplay advice given in the reknown calling is as follows:

Role-playing Reknown: Seeking reknown is great fun. Do anything to get more glory, and don’t worry too much about how. Dungeoneer RPG is a cooperative game so the rules are set up to encourage actions which gain glory and punish bad behaviour by granting them peril. Playing a hero with a calling to reknown is an elaboration of the core rule. Do what gains you glory, while taking care not to attract too much peril. But then again, more peril means more monsters, and more monsters means more opportunities to gain glory! Keep it light, jump in to help other heroes when they need it, because if they die, who will be around to tell the tale of your extremely awesome and generous acts just before the great sacrifice you made that led to your end. What a tale, eh?

So just do anything you can to gain glory. The rest of the game is designed such that this can still lead to an admirable and heroic adventure.

Reknown is also the default template, which is reccomended for beginners. You are able to change your calling, once per grade. Thus if you are not sure what to do, you may start out with the reknown calling, and then evolve to something a bit more enlightened as you learn the game.

There is no explicit money system in Dungeoneer adventures, so a greedy guy seeking money just won't work out. Plus, what kind of hero is motivated by greed?

Release Date:
We have not yet announced a date. Keep your eye on the Goodman Games main page for that information.
bye for now,
richard pocklington

Thomas Denmark
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Re: Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #4: Beyond Chaotic

Post by Thomas Denmark » Sat May 19, 2007 2:41 pm

Banesfinger wrote: Finally, does Goodman Games have a (ballpark) release date for this game?
My opinion on this is that it is more important for us to develop a high-quality product than to adhere to some forced deadline.

At some point we will have a clear idea when the game can be brought to market and that information will be first announced here. We are not talking years, but a matter of several months. The latest I foresee is Gen Con '08.
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Warduke
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Re: Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #4: Beyond Chaotic

Post by Warduke » Tue May 29, 2007 5:10 pm

Thomas Denmark wrote:At some point we will have a clear idea when the game can be brought to market and that information will be first announced here. We are not talking years, but a matter of several months. The latest I foresee is Gen Con '08.
I would concur. Dungeoneer is like a fine wine. Take your time, but make it shine!
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Banesfinger
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Post by Banesfinger » Tue Jun 19, 2007 4:50 am

It seems Wizards of the Coast is making a great effort to streamline the d20 system in the new Star Wars Saga Edition. There is also some speculation that these changes might find their way into D&D 4th Edition.

Since 'streamlineing' the game also seems to be the goal of Dungeoneer, will you guys be looking at these changes to the d20 system?

warpweaver
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Post by warpweaver » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:54 pm

Banesfinger wrote:It seems Wizards of the Coast is making a great effort to streamline the d20 system in the new Star Wars Saga Edition. There is also some speculation that these changes might find their way into D&D 4th Edition.

Since 'streamlineing' the game also seems to be the goal of Dungeoneer, will you guys be looking at these changes to the d20 system?
While I appreciate d20 and have written for d20 in the past, IT HAS ITS LIMITATIONS! I will be glad to see them simplify their system. (That change to make saving throws more sane in 3rd edition was a huge step in the right direction.)

Dungeoneer Adventures (DgA), however, is a completely different animals and is evolving on its own trajectory.

Influences on the design come from all sorts of places, including:
Dungeoneer (duh!)
Original 0th Edition Dungeons and Dragons (not ADnD!)
Melee, Wizard and The Fantasy Trip
Champions
Toon
Mage
Magic the Gathering
Warlords
World of Warcraft
Legends of the Aftergod
Ashtinia
Theater Sports: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatresports

Onward to glory!
bye for now,
richard pocklington

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