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Umbra

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A member registered Sep 28, 2016 · View creator page →

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Hi! Don’t worry, no such thing as an ignorant question here. I could definitely be clearer with regards to these things. The intent is for no GM and 2-4 players. You could probably stretch that a bit in practice, but that’s what I think would be good, at least. It would be possible to have a GM, I think, though I’m not sure if they’d have too much to do. 

Sure! I'm a bit busy with end-of-year school stuff, but in the near future I'd definitely be down!

https://dealerumbra.itch.io/4elite

March 30th

Book 01: Become as Gods
The goals outlined in the earlier post have been accomplished, cleaning up and organizing the document a bit more. I also took the opportunity to flesh out some parts I felt like I hadn't properly written out in the release version. Barad, the 0.2 update, better reflects what I have in mind for what people actually do in the setting, as well as digging into the philosophy a bit more.

Book 02: Betafork Blues
Work continues. I've arrived at a core mechanic that I feel comfortable with, but isn't quite ready for public discussion just yet. Going along with some of the more recently added parts of Book 1, we start to look outside what the individual character does, and look more toward how they fit into the situation around them. More news on this as I work on the mechanics further. 

That's everything for now. Happy gaming!

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Hi everyone! This thread will serve as a living update document for the ongoing writing of this game. Expect the more flashy updates in dev logs; this will be more of a passive, "here's what I've been working on", kind of thread.

FUTURE.SHOCK 01: Become as Gods
If you've noticed that the pages are a bit cluttered in places, you're not the only one. Basically, I didn't turn on a setting in Publisher (the baseline grid) which has meant that the text doesn't follow any rules but its own. The grid basically makes all the text in the document follow the same rules, which should make things easier to read. This does require some additional space in the document, which means some things will have to be taken out. Specifically, the Musings on the Nature of Forks will eventually emerge as a faction in New Humanity, and the lone art piece of the LCC will just have to be shafted for now. 

FUTURE.SHOCK 02: Betafork Blues
Development has started properly now, which mostly consists of condensing what is currently in three different documents into something that's a bit more sensible. Currently re-reading some Dogs in the Vineyard for mechanical inspiration. 

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Hey! Reading through the quickstart now, looks really interesting. However, it seems like something has happened with the PDF to make most of the text not searchable, at least using my reader (Foxit). The headings are searchable (Ctrl-F "Wall" gets a few results, for instance) as well as some of the italicized text, but the bulk of the document is not. The document is still relatively short, so it's not much of a problem, but I figured I should let you know.

Edit: This seems to be specifically Quickstart.pdf - the Spreads version seems to parse just fine.

Hi! I've been looking at adapting some works that entered the public domain this year where I'm at (in the EU) but won't be entering the public domain in the US (where itch.io are located) for at least a few years. I suppose I have two questions:

  • Can a game be submitted if the original work is not public domain in the US, even if it is public domain elsewhere?
  • If so, can it legally be hosted on itch?

Hey! I've been looking through the docs and I'm very intrigued by what I'm seeing. Thinking about taking this for a spin in the near-ish future. 

However, I do have a question. Do you have any advice for someone who'd want to take the game into their own setting, as opposed to running it in Denvorn?

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Personally, I unapologetically went for local names. (In fact, I'm now remembering a few places where I could've gone for it even harder.) People are going to mispronounce it either way, so I figure I might as well make it look right for me.

Hi! I've had some experience over the past six months with implementing simulation-stuff. I would love to have a look at your code, if you're willing to share.

Ah, understandable. No problem!

Hi! Liking what I've seen so far, but a bit surprised that it doesn't seem possible to save the game? If it is, I'm not sure how - would appreciate some pointers, in that case!

Very glad to know that y'all are working on it. When something like this becomes apparent, I see it as all our responsibility to do better. I'm just doing my part. 

Well said on all points. (I would say that Jenga still has a single point of responsibility, but I digress.)  I've adapted this take on the system for my second submission, which is a lot more flexible when it comes to target numbers and failing a roll. Basically, we've got variable targets, multiple targets per prompt (on many, but not all) prompts, and failing to meet the prompt just means a less favorable outcome, rather than certain death. While I'm sure that each individual target number can still be optimized for, if one wants to play the spreadsheet game, the larger variance should mean that most of the problems we've discussed can be avoided.

anything else means you die in a few turns or waste dice (7d6 gives you a 98% chance of success per roll, 6d6=~90%), 5d6=~70%)

It has admittedly been a little while since I played Jenga, but I would estimate that a good number of the pulls I've made (especially in the later stages of the game) were well below 70% chance of success. 5 is definitely the lowest I'd go in terms of "reasonable chance", though; it drops off pretty harshly below that. A range of 14-20 reasonably successful pulls sounds about right to me.

One method that I would probably use to mitigate the risk of death would be borrowed from the grand-daddy of Jenga-based horror games, Dread. You give the player the choice of whether or not to pull. If they pull without fail, their story is slightly more positive. If they don't pull, they don't succeed at what they try to do, but at least they know they're not dying.

Basically, it feels more arbitrary, but somehow also more my fault. 

Interesting! Personally, I would say that if I tip over a Jenga tower, it feels a lot more like my fault than if the dice I rolled ended up being low. That's not to dismiss your point of view: just saying that I don't share it.

 what if there were multiple things at stake that you distribute dice between?
Alternatively, multiple layers of failure (e.g. someone posted an idea in the idea thread about a journalist on the case of a serial killer, who kills again every time the tower falls).

I am all for adding more options for dice results! For your first case, I could see something like, rather than having a single goal at 16, you could do two separate goals at 9 and 9, or whichever distribution is more appropriate for the situation. Towerfalls that aren't gameovers are fun as well, and depending on the concept, they can definitely be a good fit.

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My current thinking about the Jenga tower is that what it represents for the game, rather than the strict mathematics of it, is the more important part. So, what should it represent?

  • A growing sense of dread
  • Mounting pressure
  • A chance for the player to interact more directly with the game.

I like the 100d6 method that Sky posted, but I think it misses that last point a bit - the player doesn’t actually do much. I propose a revised version to address this problem. 

You start with 100 points of supply, named as appropriate for your game. Whenever your supply is tested, scratch off any number of supply, then roll that same amount of d6s. If you can make a total of 16 or higher  on your dice, you’re in the clear.  If you can’t make 16 or higher, you’re dead.

16 was chosen because 600 / 36 rounds down to 16. 600 is the maximum of 100d6, and 36 is the practical maximum of pulls you can make from a standard 18-floor block tower before you’ve cannibalized the tower entirely. This not only lets the player decide between a more risky approach that’s likely to be more effective in the long term (choosing few dice) or a safer option that’s going to be costly later (choosing many dice). It also gives the player something mechanical to do, in that they have to add up the numbers.

Something to keep in mind with when you’re rolling multiple dice is that the probability isn’t uniform. On 5d6, you are much more likely to roll somewhere around the 17-19 range than in the 27-29 range, for example.

I already have one submission in, but reading this thread has made me want to do an Obra Dinn-inspired game. Tax collector traversing a ruined ship, trying to figure out exactly what happened there.

For The (B:R)eached, time isn't necessarily specified. Implied to be on the scale of many years in a round, if not more. 

Hi everyone! I'm Umbra, (he/him) maker and player of games for the better part of the last two decades. My preferences these days are for games that let me front-load my prep by setting up a compelling scenario, and let goal-oriented PCs loose in a world that bends and fits to their needs and wants. Currently playing SWN and Mindjammer, and sporadically running a Dishonored game when technology allows. 

Outside of gaming, my big passion is in math. Trying my best not to let it overlap too much, lest my designs start getting too complicated. :P

The Haul is my collection of game design projects, currently including 7 original games, 4 settings for other games, and 2 supplements for other games. The original games are definitely the big-ticket item, though, so I figure that here is the most appropriate place for sharing it. More information about each individual game can be found on the project page.
https://dealerumbra.itch.io/the-umbra-haul

Glad you find it interesting! 

I did run into some issues when trying to make the VORN more obviously dangerous while also staying true to the themes of the game. I have some ideas for how to make it more explicit, but I think I’ll have to let them percolate for a little bit. Might have an update in a week or so.