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    CULTUS: Design Doc Feedback

    OK, so here it is:

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/49ui98..._Draft_v2.docx

    I'm not married to any of it and open to all your ideas, suggestions, guidance, etc. Feel free to edit the doc or share your ideas freeform here. Let's really kick it around-- this is the time to settle on what you want and knock it into shape!
    Always working behind the scenes

    #2
    oddly enough, I just binged the show "carnivale" over the weekend, as I read this design doc, I started thinking of the main bad guy played by clancy brown.... brother Justin.
    the more I read the more I saw a darker, more encompassing version of this character and the plans he had and it became more of a "what if he hadnt died" (and the series
    cancelled..lol) at the end of the second season.

    basically, what I'm saying is.. I'm really liking what I've read. I have to say.. whoever we get to play the antagonist to our good leader of our cult,. should be willing to do more
    then strip down to her underwear....lol. as the cult starts to become more powerful and well known, a security force become important to deal with any nosey reporters that
    attempt to get to close, as well as the consequences of getting caught. or you might root out a spy (be they a member of law enforcement, the media, etc) who decided to go
    under cover to get evidence of the cults true purpose. hehehe. so many delicious opportunities with a game of this scope.

    mothers, daughters, nieces, aunts... noone is safe now...

    Comment


    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      I loved Carnivale-- was so disappointed it didn't get to finish up properly... I think the same guy also did Deadwood years later-- another unfairly abandoned masterpiece!

    • lord syrus
      lord syrus commented
      Editing a comment
      yeah, it's also the same guy [Clancy Brown] that plays the Kurgan in Highlander and did the voice of Lex Luthor in the animated series of "Justice League Unlimited"

    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Clancy Brown is who you go to when Ron Perlman is busy-- he's great!

    #3
    A couple of quick clarifying questions:

    I noticed one reference to Christianity as a competing faith to be supplanted. Are we imagining a world where general but fictional monotheistic [Abrahamic] faiths are the norm and are in decline, or actual ones like Christianity and Islam? I foresee problems and advantages to either approach.


    The cult we create - is it monotheistic or polytheistic? Competing deities in a hierarchical pantheon?


    Please tell me that in all our ritual and sacrifices and magic, the game doesn’t include ACTUAL Vancian magic, a la D&D. The power to cast healing and turn the undead, for example. I was envisioning a game wherein hucksters [like Mormons] manufacture a BS faith that allows them to control a lot of people and money, and also to get laid a lot. Stray too far from that, and we’re making a fantasy RPG that deals with philosophy. “Keep it light, keep it bright, keep it…!”


    Selecta is a frickin’ genius.


    If he doesn’t learn to use commas correctly, I’m coming over there to smack him with the MLA style guide!

    Comment


    • MaxDS
      MaxDS commented
      Editing a comment
      For spanking purposes, I agree that's a hefty guide.
      I used Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" through university, as it was cheap and small. I'd recommend it for secretary pools on a budget.

    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Keep that thing away from me! Yes, to be clear I'm NOT advocating magic per se-- the 'visions' are as real as you interpret them. the power lies in the power of suggestion, not some actual D&D spell book type thing

    #4
    @Jefferson: If i know

    1) My Selecta (which i think i am coming to know)
    2) The limitations of using the written form (and the written form only) to communicate complex and abstract thinking...

    I think that what SC has in mind is more along the lines of
    Civilisation 6, than D&D.
    Specifically
    http://civ6.gamepedia.com/Culture
    I.e tenets are government cards that you acquire by hoarding a given stat, gaining new tenets at set faith thresholds, then have to pay resources to set, and provide you with mechanical bonuses in the game world, usually on a turn by turn basis.
    Relics are well... relics, from Civ6 - http://civ6.gamepedia.com/Relics. you find them, put them in your church/museum thing, and the faithful come to worship.
    Edit: Civ6 has an additional mechanic for finding relics later in the game: archeologists that go digging in historical sites. Again, thinking something similar here.

    On the document itself, i'll make a few separate post in the mechanics board.

    Edit: Pursuant to the posts i've made elsewhere, i'd like to state my single biggest misgiving about this project.

    The title. Cultus doesn't even feel like a real word (i do know what it is). Also... can't we just go ahead ahead and call this SotU 0: The Cult? I mean, that's basically what it is.
    Last edited by Le_Wang; 03-22-2017, 09:40 AM.

    Comment


    • MaxDS
      MaxDS commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree the "working title" is grating... I'll open a thread for naming ideas later...

    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I'm seeing the tenets as 1.) spiritual discoveries and 2.) implementable in the form of tenets-- so, in that civ vein

      I'm open to ANY title you like; it is just a placeholder

      fwiw it is actually a word:
      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cultus

      As for SOTU comparisons, I really am not going for that but there is a strategic focus which I think a cult would need?

    #5
    Obviously just my own opinion, but it feels like this design may be straying a bit too far into "this person has actual real spiritual power of some sort" territory. I realize this is a fictional religion, but it still leads towards potential disagreement on the actual existence of a higher power. I think, just having skimmed the other Design Doc Discussion, that many people were seeing this game as more "huckster" taking advantage of religious beliefs... which has it's own pitfalls... but does allow for the idea that regardless of the validity of a belief system, people can abuse it.

    One of the first things to jump out is a Faith stat used to access Visions. Simply changing that to "Inspiration" that unlocks "ideas" that the player has to help his conversion rate removes the need for actual spiritual power. The secondary characteristic Prophet becomes "Creative" or "Imaginative", etc. Using the House/Zodiac is fine, because all you're doing is really picking the player's natural strength "lean".

    Anyway, that's my initial reaction. New here and not previously very involved... so feel free to ignore it completely.

    Oh, one other thing: No matter the real spiritual power vs huckster slant to this game, can two items be removed from your Visions list: Enact Mass Suicide and Allows Cannibal Feast. Unless I'm misunderstanding.... Yikes! I realize those things are very cult-y but they are also huge boner killers. At least I hope they are for everyone.

    This game looks very ambitious. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

    Comment


    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Welcome and keep the comments coming-- very pertinent!

      My own perspective is that it is all relative in that the PC could play as a huckster who is a hypocrite and doesn't believe their own nonsense OR DOES believe it. The power comes from the power of suggestion-- do the followers follow because they believe?

      Put another way, you could play as Jim Baker/televangelist who blew $ on blow and hookers OR as David Koresh who prolly was consistent with their own beliefs. The motivation is less important than the power of their suggestion-- which comes from the 'visions' they receive. Did Joseph Smith really talk to Moroni or did he make it all up? It really doesn't matter-- what matters if OTHERS believe. Hope that makes sense!

      As for the really nasty stuff, caveat: it IS a game and cults DO engage in this kind of stuff. Hard to avoid referencing it and part of the dark fun (for some) might be engaging in some harmless pixel-based atrocities...

    • jz123
      jz123 commented
      Editing a comment
      Okay that makes sense. Leaving it vague as to whether this is a real communication with some higher power, or your own subconscious giving you clues to further your own ambitions... that works. I think I read it as definitely leaning the one direction, and I personally was leaning the other. Leaving it open for the PC to decide either through game mechanics OR even just internal mind of the player is a good option.

      And if you're wanting people to be able to play this as a true believing cult leader, I can see why having the nastier stuff in there makes sense. I'm adding my vote in for making sure that can stay optional content.... please. I like the fantasy of dominance or near absolute control... but mass suicides at the very least seem like a complete waste of "product" as the company would say.

      Looking forward to see how this evolves and coalesces during the design phase. It's always interesting to compare initial design docs and final product.

    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Everything would be optional-- we have lots of players who would prolly prefer a more benign if corrupt game style. You're not wrong about changes-- sometimes the game can take a big turn in dev that deviates from the original doc but the intent this time around would be to spend much more time talking it through-- assuming fans have opinions on how/where to take it!

    #6
    I'm wondering if scholar might be a secondary characteristic? Maybe replace Preacher? Even if not going mystic route, Prophet still works as one can claim fake prophet whereas with visions, text would need to be ambiguous enough for those who want to play the mystic and those whose characters would fake the visions.

    Maybe make Vision a separate cost (but make odds harder) which you can try once a turn/save up rather then something you have to use your normal turn points on?

    Is Chancel meant to be chapel?

    Maybe swap pleasure dome and convent's rewards around? The Convent can spread the word and gives an aura of respectability, the pleasure dome might require... donations to enter

    I'm impressed by all the names you came up with. Also the entire document.

    The Fool. I can see humiliating career suicide, not sure what a humiliating suicide is? Maybe with the five, a selection of options once quest is done to tailor it to the PC? How many of the five questions will one reasonably expect do per game?

    It had crossed me mind that for lesser NPC's, if there are enough pictures, a punishment/redeem factor might be in play for a small bonus and text? Like SOTU had support, seduce, whore but religion does seem to be big on both the hell-fire and the ability to redeem a person. Or too much?

    Comment


    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Everything is up for change. As for all the verbiage, grab a thesaurus and it isn't hard tbh. If some of the labels seem awkward, we can change. Paths can be changed, added, etc.

      Hell, we can change everything. Please do NOT take this doc as anything but away to kick off conversation. I don't care if we trash it altogether. What I DO hope it achieves is to get you all to think in terms of game framework and to imagine playing a game like this. Would it be fun? If not, what would make it fun?

      I think a lot of ideas spring up when someone imagines a scene or a topic they'd like to experience. It is a good start but then you have to retrofit a world around it to support it convincingly. That's where all the math and stats etc come in. And the more that element comes in, the farther away from the fun you seem to be. But in order to enjoy a ride in a mercedes, you need a bunch of smart German guys doing loads of tech design work back in the lab. Sorry-- this is simplistic and obvious and addressed to all. Just want to get you in the mindset as I really want as much as I can get from you all here before we move to actual dev!

    • mackaie
      mackaie commented
      Editing a comment
      Was it the "or too much" line that worried you? I wondered if it might be a feature too much having punishment (say, a vain lady forced to expose herself, lustful gets chastity belt, spankings and so on) and redemption (I find this harder to come up with but baptism, using talents for you in a more "respectable" way) added.

      I like the feature doc partly becuase I'm not good at "here is a proposal, flesh out" but give me something tangible like the document and I'm more likely to have ideas or thoughts

    • Selectacorp
      Selectacorp commented
      Editing a comment
      Not at all! Using religion as a foil to bounce stuff off of offers lots of possibilities. As far as game dev, don't worry about getting lost in all that. Just think of scenarios that you'd like to come across in a game like this
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