All posts by Newt

Games Designer, Publisher, Web Developer, Dad.

MonkeyLite

MonkeyLite is a short version of the game. It will have the basic rules of the game, but be low on detailed examples and setting material. It will probably have the main heroes from the book, Tripitaka, Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy and a very simple introductory adventure. This is what I am currently working towards

The idea in the first instance is to have something to play test with. So MonkeyLite will be the 1st version of the rules. As detail and optional rules come up through the playtest MonkeyLite will be updated & developed. The detail & examples that that come out of the play test will go into MonkeyFull .

Then secondly MonkeyLite will also be offered as a free preview pdf with minimal illustration.

The main difference between MonkeyLite and MonkeyFull is that the former only contains only the bare bones of the game. It is not a crippled system, you could play a game if you know the book, but MonkeyFull has all the juicy background information with information on how to use it in the game already done.

UPDATE: 11 July 2007. Monkey lite is now known as the ‘coaster edition’ and if you want to know why, please read on.

D101 Games Wiki

I’ve set up a wiki for development purposes.

This allows me to work on stuff both at home and during my lunch hour at work. Also it allows me to easily put concepts and rules into nice self contained pages, which logically reference each other. It is a really productive tool and much better than working with an ever increasing word document.

Also it allow other people (that’s you) add stuff to it and change things. For example or can be pedantic and correct my spellings or grammar, while can add to the rules. Just give a name when you edit the page and you will be credited with the change. Use the sandbox to test the system.

At the moment all that’s in there is a very rough draft of the rules which I’m going to clean up over the Easter hols (so hold off pedants!!)

Here’s the link

UPDATE 11th Aug 05: The wiki didn’t really work as well as I thought it would, and it was a pain to edit all the pages into one document. So I’ve closed it down.

Game Design Document

Here’s the game design document I wrote a couple of months ago to keep myself on track while writing the game.

Monkey

Synopsis

Based upon Cheng’en Wu’s Monkey, a Chinese epic also known as “Journey to the West”. The players play Immortals from Chinese mythology, who like Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy is trying to regain favour in the eyes of the Immortal Bureaucracy so that they may enter either the Western Taoist heaven or the Eastern Buddhist Heaven. The game uses a rules mechanic based upon drawing playing cards, to model fast and furious kung fu and godly powers. The background details not only the characters from the book, but also other gods and goddesses from Chinese Mythology.

Aim of Game

To gain enough virtue to re-enter one of the two heavens. The Taoist heaven sees promoting natural harmony as the way to heaven, while the way into Buddhist heaven is a more straightforward easing of your fellow mans pain.

Physical outcomes.

A small compact rulebook, 150 pages long, color card covers, black and white interior illustrations.

Game Themes.

Chinese Mythology, with themes from Buddhist and Taoist traditions.

E.g. Karma. Harmony, the idea of the Celestial bureaucracy mirroring the Earthly Bureaucracy.

The player characters taking responsibility for actions. Killing things and taking their stuff is not a wining strategy for this game. Resolving the problems and protecting the mortals that the pcs meet is.

Rule system.

Homegrown, card drawing system. Each player draws one card per skill points, with bonus cards for equipment, magic, character traits (see below) and good role-playing. The opposition, be it an enemy or natural resistance, must then match or better the cards played against them. The player chooses which cards in his hand are used for what, allowing for multiple actions.

Core Rules concepts

Skills-simple skills, which are more akin to an area of expertise, say Crane Kung-Fu fighter, than individual skills. Ranked one to six, novice to master.

Traits-Both personality and physical Each trait has an opposite which cancels out the opposition

Karma system-for additional cards and character development.

Virtue system- to measure success of character in the eyes of Heaven. When reaches a maximum level through performing good/harmonious deeds the character is taken out of play, after being accepted into the ranks of heaven.

Character Concepts

Based upon Traditional Chinese Mythological character types eg;

  • Ascended Kung Fu Master
  • Animal Spirit
  • Immortal courtesan (Western Taoist Heaven)
  • Bodhisattva (Eastern Buddhist Heaven)
  • Demon, seeking redemption.

Player advancement

Primarily by accumulating virtue and Karma.

Page count

150 -200

Brief contents.

  • Introduction
  • Characters
  • Skills and Magic
  • Action system
  • The Mythological world of Monkey
  • Immortals from the books.
  • Scenario (The Lost Bag of Wind)

The spirit of Monkey was irrepresible…….

One thing I often forget when I get down to the ‘serious business’ of putting a game/adventure together is that these things are meant to be fun. This is especially true in the case of Monkey. I was inspired by the philosophy/mythology of the book. Wu ch’eng-en’s parody of Taoist Culture, and his satire of Human nature. Not to mention his evangelical message that Buddhism is the way to salvation. None of which makes for fun role playing, were the main aim is escapism.

No the genius of Monkey is that it wraps all its meaningfully points in a very fun humor fantasy tale of flawed gods and outlandish fantasy. Monkey is my number one fantasy book anyday. Its far more cheerful and fun while still being deeply poignant than say the Lard of the Rungs. Monkey is going to be a narrative game, because of this duel nature. For action Narrative games shed all pretensions of war game like realism, which fits Monkey to a tee. Even in the book the combats are described as outrageous action packed wuxia kung-fu fests. Narratism deals with the action simply and meaningfully, be it combat or a heated debate, which believe it or not happens more often in the book were arguments are dramatic and overblown. This leads to quick and joyful fun, rather than ponderous referencing of rules.

Its important that Monkey has MAXIMUM GAMING FUN built into the rules. This is because as I was reminded today that when I mention that I am doing a game based upon Monkey, people automatically assume its based upon the Japanese TV series that ingrained itself in the consciousness of the British public via BBC2 in the 80s. Which it is, in a roundabout way since I would have never read the book if I hadn’t have seen the TV series. And if I hadn’t have read the book I would have never have started thinking about this game……..

BTW I have done some writing on the rules tonight. Its proved surprisingly fun and enlightening.

Starting in earnest :Monkey

After playing around with several ideas for games, which I’ll post here later, I’ve decided to return to an idea that’s been zapping round my head for almost ten years now.

Monkey is based upon the 16th Century Chinese classic by Wu Ch’eng-en “Journey to the West”, or “Monkey” which is the name of the English translation.

The book is based upon the exploits of the immortal Monkey King. First as he rises in the ranks of heavenly immortals in the Western Taoist Heaven before running amok when his ego cannot be satisfied by all the honour that is accorded to him. Great Buddha in the Eastern Buddhist Heaven hears that there is trouble in the Western Heaven and pops over to see what is happening. Seeing the troublesome Monkey, he traps him under a mountain, saying that one day a passer by will release him and provide him with his means to renter heaven.

The second parts of the story sees Monkey released by the Buddhist Priest Tripitaka, and in service to the priest accompany him to India to recover sacred scrolls missing from the Chinese cannon of Buddhist writings. Two other fallen Immortals, the Demon Sandy and Pigsy an ex-guard accompany them from the Western Heaven, who also seeks redemption by serving Tripitaka.

In this game, the players play Immortals who like Monkey, Sandy and Pigsy have fallen out of favour with the heavenly authorities, seek to regain their place in either of the Heavens by serving the Heavenly order.

I’ve got a rather disjointed first draft of the game which I’ll get polished up over the coming weeks.

Basically its a narrative game, like HeroQuest or Sorcerer, which uses a card based mechanic to resolve conflicts, be they the traditional fights or social interactions. The game has an objective and an end which is to have the character, who is an out of favour chinese immortal find redemption in the eyes of either the Eastern (Buddhist) or Western (Taoist) heaven. This shifts the games emphasis away from traditional boys will be boys themes of killing things and taking their stuff, to a more humourous and cosmic approach, where how the characters go about their business and treat the mortals they encounter is important and relevant.

Now its time to dig out my copy of the book and start making notes.

Welcome

A Journal for a new pen and paper role-playing games company, currently an imaginary entity in its owner’s mind (Newt Newport)

Primarily intended as a friends only creative journal to work out the details of creating the company and its at this stage.

Regards

;O)Newt