This weeks task was to go into teams and together create and develop our own RPG system and story based on the two examples that we played through on the Monday which involved Jenga blocks and cards. Whenever an action within the campaign could go either one of two ways i.e. for or against their chosen action, a block would need to be removed from the tower and placed at the top. While this may not seem difficult, in a game built on these types of circumstances the tower will become unstable relatively quickly, resulting in it falling over due to the stability or clumsiness. The other system involved having two poker coins to represent life and a deck of cards which would be used in a similar way to the Jenga blocks in the previous game. In this system, in a similar circumstance where there could be a different outcome, you would take a random card for yourself with Aces being 1 and Kings being 13. you would then pick up another random card for whomever it was against be it another player or NPC (Non-Player Character) and whichever card was higher would win and dictate how events unfolded. If you lost you would then lose a life, however if you challenged another player and won, you would gain a life. This would all lead up to Fridays crit, where one member from each team would be chosen as the DM/GM (Dungeon/Games Master). The rest of the class would then choose which games they would like to play and test for the duration of the day, before answering feedback questionnaires about what they thought of it.
The groups were self chosen and mine consisted of myself, George, Sid, Ruby and Venny, and we began thinking about possible areas to take our RPG down in terms of story paths. We knew we wanted to follow the idea that the players were important before the game even began due to their prior back story, which could be designed by us or the person who plays. this is similar to most games in which they allow the player to embody a character that stands out to the rest of the characters within the game, such as Master Chief from Halo, Dragonborn from Skyrim and Drake from the Uncharted series. Once we knew the nature of the our game, we began to look at how we could incorporate this ideal into our RPG, in terms of having 4 players that all feel like they’re contributing an equal amount to the story. To achieve this, we decided to aim to include an overall backstory that consisted of the characters having survived an event that many would not have been so lucky to walk away from. We then decided to look into stories where the person involved survived such an event, which would allow us to create a scenario that would be believable to the people playing.
Wenseslao Moguel was a Mexican national who was believed to have taken part in the Mexican Revolution in 1915, but was later captured and sentenced to death without trial by firing squad. During the sentence he was shot 8-9 times immediately causing him to be considered dead by the people firing, however to make sure a final shot was given at point-blank range to ensure death. His body was then put with the bodies of his comrades with some sources stating his was later found the next day unconscious and was given medical attention. Whereas others state that he crawled to a church and members took him in and recuperated him back to full health; all that is known is that he survived a death sentence by firing squad where others would’ve been killed.
Vesna Vulović was a Serbian flight attendant during the 1970’s and unintentionally holds a Guinness World Record for the highest fall without a parachute. This happened during the beginning of 1972 where she was accidentally mistaken for another staff member also called Vesna on a plane destined for Denmark. She instead continued onto the flight, despite not being scheduled to serve on the plane as it was her first time visiting Denmark. However, during the flight an explosion originating from the baggage compartment tore through and crippled the plane causing it to break apart. As the plane broke apart in mid-air, to many people’s amazement she managed to fall a staggering 33,330 ft (10,160 metres) making Vulović the sole survivor of the crash. It’s unclear as to how she survived the fall, but she was later found pinned against a food cart by a villager who had served as a medic during World War II, and was able to keep her alive until help arrived. Vulović was in a coma for 10 days and suffered: severe brain damage, a fractured skull and haemorrhage, two broken legs, three broken vertebrae, fractured pelvis and several broken ribs.
Upon reviewing the information gathered, as a team we struggled to create a story in which we could include this ‘cheated death’ aspect in terms of narrative and location to and later decided to change the idea completely. This then took us down a path where we based our game around MI6 during the Second World War, where players would belong to a team of highly skilled agents on a dangerous mission. Their task, having infiltrated a Nazi base, would be to sabotage a new experimental type of missile that would be used against the UK and her allies without alerting the guards. While other members of the team were tasked with looking at early Nazi missiles and bases that would’ve housed this new invention. I decided to create a stamp-like logo that would be placed at the bottom of the briefing and character sheets.
Making the Logo:
I knew what I wanted the stamp to look like but wasn’t sure if MI5/6 had a known logo, or whether they were all concepts that had been created outside of the organisation. There was one prominent logo which came up more often than others, however it had been altered multiple times which made it difficult to find out which one was genuine. I decided to take an image that was large enough to not have to worry about distorting it and opened it into Adobe Illustrator.
Firstly, I rasterized the image to make it an editable object which I then image traced, expanded and un-grouped the image, which allowed me to alter aspects such as the ‘007’ which I simply removed completely because I only needed the outline. I then changed it to the desired colour (red) and placed a graphite effect onto the image to make it coarse rather than smooth, to mimic a roughly pressed stamp. Once done I still wasn’t happy with the outcome, and so used a brush stroke with a similar effect and copied it to Photoshop in order to save it as a picture, before creating a clipping mask around the logo and placing the image into it. This then removed areas along the brush stroke, giving the impression that there wasn’t a lot of ink on the stamp before it was pressed, as well as giving it a slightly weathered look.
With the logo finished it could then be placed onto the briefing sheet which would be read out at the beginning of the RPG (Role Playing Game) by the Dungeon Master so players could immediately submerge themselves into their chosen character. This also came with the next task which was to create a character sheet which would allow for players to write down information about their character which is used in almost every RPG (Role Playing Game). Sid and I started planning out the character sheet after looking at examples from other games such as Dungeons and Dragons, which would include areas for the player to write their character name, age, gender. This would also be among other pieces of information such as stats to allow for a more developed character creation by players.
We started by placing boxes where the 4 main pieces of information would go (name, age, gender and class) before moving onto the other section of the character sheet. Rather than make the design simple with rows upon rows of boxes each with a different title, we settled on the idea that the stats of the player and other areas of character creation would be separated by a small inventory system made up of two slots. With such a large section of the character sheet remaining, we struggled to find something to put in the negative space, this could be anything from further titles about character creation. We decided upon adding an oath which is said by members of the armed forces, and felt that it was appropriate for the story that players and roles that the players would be undertaking. I finished off the character sheet by adding the textured background, stamp and signature sections at the bottom of the page, along with more stamps for each of the classes which would allow for only one person per class. Venny then finalised the character and brief sheets by adding the signature for the general that issued the mission.
We also created a questionnaire to give to the participating players in order to gain an insight to what they thought of the game as a whole as well as any improvements/ changes that they would make. The overall rating for the game out of 10 given was 8 and 9 which for a first initial play through is a positive response from the 4 players that played. Some changes that were put forward were making it less luck based in terms to making decisions within the game, due to players experiencing bad luck at times throughout the game. Others mentioned having more inventory slots as well as a larger maps to make navigating the game slightly easier in terms of working out where you are and what you have to do next. We decided to make it anonymous as we wanted genuine feedback rather than players feeling like they’re obliged to say something nice as we will know what they said.
Overall, this jam was one of the most enjoyable so far as it enabled us to come up with a game almost entirely focused on the imagination of the player, with added prompts from the dungeon master. This meant creating the game without many of the added accessories such as game pieces, (characters, monsters or items etc.) which was an added difficulty due to the limited time frame given. I also enjoyed getting back into illustrator and creating components for the project at hand, as I’ve only rarely used the program over the span of the course. From the questionnaire responses this also showed that the players enjoyed our RPG overall which was a boost seeing as many of us have never created a RPG before.
Header image was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/cube-play-role-playing-game-craps-568105/