January 15, 2012

Fomenting Party Interactivity

While we're still on the subject of GGG plays, I want to touch on the game's subtheme of inter-party interactivity. Groups of PCs that interact a lot with each other are great fun. Why that is fun is something  several hundred words could be written about, but let us for the time being summarize it saying that anything you do involving friends is fun, with the added benefit of making the GM's work easier by rousing folks to create their own content to keep themselves entertained.

Is there something wrong with playing individually? Certainly not, and any ensemble cast is going to have people whose goals and motivations take them in a direction the rest of the group will not see themselves involved in. That said, every GM has had to deal with a separated party at some point and let us just say that it is not an ideal situation.There are many ways to deal with this, but none of them are perfect, and thus the less it happens the better. Plus, parties that don't do much together beyond making robots blow up are missing a ton of chances to roleplay - the GM can never come up with content that is as rich as what the entire group can put out together.

Slice of life elements through episodic gameplay are encouraged so that the party is close, but not only that is simply not everyone's cup of tea, oftentimes it simply won't be enough on its own. Unless the players all sit down to make a party that works together well, they run the risk of a segregated group that wants to do their own thing leaving everyone else outside of it.

Roleplaying Games should encourage the type of game they want people to play through mechanics, and GGG at the very least provides incentives for party interactivity (though not necessarily unity) through its rules. A Dramatic Typecast will make people more powerful for roleplaying with the rest of the group, either for their mutual benefit or by causing conflict. Some of the most powerful Genre Powers are those that benefit other PCs or that benefit the entire group - Helping people bond simply by the fact that PC A saved PC B's life thanks to Not so Fast. The Teamwork subset of Upgrades are some of the strongest in the game, providing ludicrous benefits at a price. And so on.

I'm trying to get the point across in these posts relatively fast while the game is still fresh and as time goes on, I will be glazing less over the details. For the time being, I hope these simple overviews suffice for anyone who has doubts over how to run or play.

January 8, 2012

Moving Along

While I change a few things here and there to GGG, fixing a few problems that slipped past and adding elements that were requested, I figure I should drop a few choice words about the game. Beyond the generic rambling about roleplaying games and the basic rules of the game and whatnot in the book proper.

For the most part I want to address how GGG plays (or how it was designed to be played) as that is a matter that I have been asked about a few times. Giant Guardian Generation proper is, much like its most obvious inspiration, a mash up of existing roleplaying systems, taking inspiration from mechanics, gameplay elements, and design principles from all kinds of sources - enough that going into them would require a blog post of its own.

Let's cut to the chase: GGG is an episodic mecha game much in the style of Mecha anime where every episode either has a new gimmicky enemy (the so-called 'Monsters of the Week') or one skirmish against multiple enemies, usually recurring ones (much in the style of Yoshiyuki Tomino's series, of which the most known is the Gundam franchise), often whatever it is that happened during battle would be related to events in the lives of the protagonists and serve as a way to develop them as characters.

One example would be a character fearful of spiders who has to do battle with a giant spider-like alien to protect his hometown, you could also have two pilots with opposite personalities who do not get along at all having to use teamwork in order to beat a stronger foe and begrudgingly accepting the other, or even a young teenager in love who finds that their sweetheart was an enemy this time all along.

Now what makes watching a TV show fun (or reading a book, or what have you) is not the same as what makes playing a game fun. Some things are fun to experience passively, but prove to be annoying when done in an interactive medium - the example given in the book is about developing enemy NPCs, and how they can't afford to have entire scenes about themselves simply because that is time in which the PCs are stacking up towers of dice and playing with their phones, because they are not actually playing the game.

We can take one thing from episodic fiction though: Episodes of GGG are meant to give the PCs a chance to roleplay their Themes either during an Intermission or during an Operation - sometimes both. Any excuse to gather the group together will do (such as those from the d100 Table in the GM's Section) and from there, the GM is to provide content uniquely suited to the PCs, preferably involving multiple characters each time.

Then come the battles. You know, the ones with the robots? Before this game started to be about all that pretentious stuff regarding storytelling and characterization? Yeah, those. The easiest of battles should be the Operations during the early Episodes, requiring no more than one or at most two Genre per PC to pull a victory and increasing in difficulty gradually until the end of the Episode Arc, which should leave them empty of points or close to it. Repeat every Arc until the world has been saved or your equivalent ending has been achieved.

This is what it boils down to in theory. Again, shaking things up is recommended, not just to keep things exciting but also to make them suit the individual group's own style best. Variety is the spice of life and all that.