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Theory Wars

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Kyle Aaron:
Well, the Forgers seem to have quietened down on for a bit, probably embarassed to discover just how happy most gamers are (69% say it is or was "good", 24% say it is or was "okay", and only 6% say it was "bad"). The following rpg has spontaneously formed itself.

Each player makes a wannabe god/guru of rpg theory. Each player creates a character we call a Persona (an online persona, different to your true self), with a Theory and a Game. Each then plays to win, that is, to reduce their opponent's Theory to nothing, and convert them to it.

Play: In this game you will play by post (always). No-one plays in person, because theorists are always sitting around lonely in their parents' basement, or hiding from their wives in the study. Each post contains your narration - the post, and then below that, the actual game-move.

Persona: Name (always your first and last name - but you customize the middle name, especially if you can use it to make up for the dorkiness of your first name.)

Age: Your age. The higher the age, the greater the prestige. Theorists in their 20s won't be believed when they say they've gamed with thousands to gather data, or when they claim to have eleven degrees relevant to the hobby. Each decade of age from 15 onwards adds +1 die in Jargonise tests (as you get older your vocabulary increases), but subtracts 1 die from Prediction tests (as you get older you "lose touch with the scene" in the eyes of the gamer audience).

Gateway game: You must either pick a traditional game (for the victim) or an indie game (for the superior). This is the game you promote as having made you the gamer you are today. What circumcision is to Jews, or baptism to Christians, the Gateway Game is to the gamer.

Motivation: You have to choose one of two motivations. Your *stated* motivation is always to improve play for everyone.

Motivation, Victimised: You've been hurt (always in italics or some such). HURT! TRAUMATISED. You have to save others - but your real motivation is bitterness towards those that hurt you.

Victimised Perk: you may refuse to take a Responsibility Tokens in any argument, and trade it for a Clarity or Confusion Token.

Motivation, Superiority: You game better than they do. You must make sure everyone knows that. You are smarter than they are and more psychologically sophisticated.

Superiority Perk: you may refuse to take a Newbie Poster Token in an argument, and trade it for a Mockery or Precision token.

THEORY: Now you construct your theory. You have ten dice, to spread around each of the five Elements. Each Element must have at least 1 die in it.

Jargonised: This is a rating of how much jargon you use. This determines how hard to understand it is. For example praxis, paradigm, hermeneutics, or any everyday noun with a Capital Letter Added to it. If you are reduced to Jargonised 0, you are Ranting.

Obfuscate: This is a rating of how hard to understand your theory is, how vague and muddled your expression is. If you are reduced to Obfuscate 0, you are Naked, as the people realise the Emperor has no clothes.

Predictions: This is a rating of what kind of statements the theory makes. This is important: if it is low, you are living a lie and it may be falsified - this puts you out of the game. However, you can obscure it with the other two. For example, "players who play my Game using my Theory will usually prefer pizza with anchovies." If reduced to Predictions 0, you are made a Conspiracy Theorist.

Snark: How nasty the theory is in what it says about gamers, or your previous gaming experiences. For example, "gamers who enjoy rolling dice are using the dice as a Freudian substitute for playing with their own testicles." If reduced to Snark 0, you are Suspended from the forum on whcih you're posting. Exception: if playing on Usenet, you are Killfiled instead, which comes to the same thing.

Analysis: How many categories and pages your theory has. Higher numbers represent more detail, not more information. If reduced to Analysis 0, you are Babbling.

Chutzpah: The sheer gall with which you post, making extraordinary claims to impress people. For example, "D&D was produced using the principles I've outlined, even though I hadn't invented them when D&D was first produced." If reduced to Chutzpah 0, you are Humiliated.

GAME: Each player has created a game based on their Theory. Write down the name of the Game and its tag line.

Victory Conditions
A player has "won" wen they achieve one of the following:
- The opposing player is reduced to being simultaneously Ranting, Naked, Conspiracy Theorising, Suspended, Babbling and Humiliated. That is, their Theory Elements have been reduced to nothing.
- The Thread Heat Factor is tested against and causes a Thread Lock.
- The Thread Heat Factor is tested against and causes a Thread Death.
- The opposing player changes their Motivation
- The opposing player changes their Theory.

THE MOVES: you select a target (another player) and make a post. You can either Attack, or if you wish to let the other player Attack first, Defend.

Attacks may be against one of the opposing players Persona, Theory, Game or Gateway Game.

- Jargonise attack - your post must introduce words you have invented, or old words you've given new meaning to.
- Obfuscate attack - your post must redefine your words. If you use this immediately after a Jargonise attack, gain a bonus die.
- Prediction attack - your post must contain some prediction of the sort of play they'll achieve using the opposing Theory; this must be presented as bad.
- Snark attack - your post must contain something offensive, but connected to your Theory. Adds 1 to Thread Heat Factor (see below).
- Analysis attack - your post must deal with some specific part of the opposing Theory, so as to reveal it as wrong or nonsense.
- Chutzpah attack - your post must contain an extraordinary claim, preferably easily tossed aside by means of verfiable science or common sense.

Attacks should be described in detail, for example the player can attack a Persona by praising his Gateway Game (if he has the Victimised Motivation) or by denigrating his Gateway Game (if he has the Superiority Motivation).

Each post must should only one of Persona, Theory, Game or Gateway Game. For each element beyond the first attacked, subtract one die due to unfocused nature of attack.

Each post should attack using only one of Jargonise, Obfuscate, Prediction, Snark, Analysis or Chutzpah. Attacks may occur in combinations, but each one beyond the first subtracts two dice, so that a point of diminishing or zero returns occurs.

For example, "You are wilfully ignorant of the Praxis of my Theory." This a Persona attack, and is using both a Snark and a Jargonise. So if the Attacker had Snark (3) and Jargonise (2), nothing was gained by adding the Jargon. Snark (3) + Jargon (2) + Multiple Method Attack Penalty (-2) = (3). So a player should only use multiple methods of attack if they are relatively adept at the different methods involved.

Defend your Persona, Theory, Game or Gateway Game against the particular attack. If you defend some Element of your Theory that wasn't attacked, gain +1 Obfuscate die for this turn only.

Defences are otherwise dealt with in the same way that attacks are, excepting that it should be noted that defences are always only of your own Persona, Theory, Game or Gateway Game. A defence by means of dealing with the opposing Persona, Theory, Game or Gateway is actually an attack, not a defence.

Resolution of Moves
An Attack followed by an Attack is not resolved, and raises the Thread Heat Factor by 1.

A Defence followed by a Defence is not resolved, and lowers the Thread Heat Factor by 1.

An Attack is resolved against a Defence. Each player rolls the number of dice equal to the sum of all the methods used, among Jargonise, Obfuscate, Prediction, Snark, Analysis and Chutzpah.

Dice are rolled and the totals compared. If you lose the round, you can do one of the following,

If you have the Victimised Motivation:
- accept a Responsibility token. This requires you to reduce your Snark or Chutzpah by 1.
- accept a Clarity token. This requires you to reduce your Jargonise or Obfuscate by 1.
- accept a Confusion token. This requires you to reduce your Prediction or Analysis by 1.

If you have the Superiority Motivation:
- accept a Mockery token. Lower Chutzpah or Jargonise by 1.
- accept a Precision token. Lower Analysis or Obfuscate by 1.
- accept a Newbie Poster token. Lower Prediction and Snark by 1.

Any player may change their Motivation or Theory during play. Changing Motivation subtracts 1 die from each of Jargonise (as the Persona needs new language to post with), but adds 3 dice to Snark (as now they say, "now I'm telling you how I really feel!"). Changing Theory subtracts 1 die from each of Analysis and Jargonise (as the Persona must write a new Theory), but adds 3 dice to Chutzpah (as it takes balls to change what you're saying).  Changing Motivation or Theory causes defeat of the changing Persona. It is recommended to create a new Persona if you wish to play again.

Thread Heat Factor
As the battle rages, the discussion may become more Heated. At the end of each turn, the winning player rolls three dice against the current Thread Heat Factor. If they roll below this, then the game ends with a Thread Lock, no more discussion may take place. If the Thread Heat Factor ever drops below zero, this causes a Thread Death, as the thread drops off the front page of the message board, or into everyone's killfiles, and is forgotten.

Otherwise, the battle continues until one of the Personas has their Theory reduced to nothing.

Experience Points and Advancement
Each argument a Persona participates in gains them 1xp.
If they were victorious, they again 3xp.
If they were defeated (Theory reduced to nothing), they get nothing.
If they changed their Motivation or Theory, they get nothing.
If the argument ended due to Thread Lock, they gain 2xp.
If the argument ended due to Thread Death, they lose 1xp - Personas require attention.

Whenever the discussion thread is linked to in another thread, they gain 2xp; when linked in a blog, 1xp; if their own blog, lose 1xp.

For each Proxy - a Persona controlled by someone else who takes on your Theory - gain 1xp. If any opponent ever takes on your Theory, gain 3xp.

Healing Elements to the previous level costs 1xp for each. Improving an Element costs target level in xp.

t3h 3nd

Kyle Aaron:
Jim Horatio Bob
Age: 35 (+2 Jargonise, -2 Predictions)
Gateway Game: d4-d4
Theory-based Game: d4-d4
Motivation: Superiority
Theory: Cheetoism
Jargonise 3 (minimum 1, +2 due to Age)
Obfuscate 1 (Prides himself on clarity)
Predictions 1 (3, -2 due to Age)
Snark 3 (Not bitter!)
Analysis 3 (Have both the hammer and the scalpel available)
Chutzpah 1 (Few extraordinary claims made about gaming and gamers)

Typically, this theorist will only use Jargonise or Obfuscate in conjunction with Analysis, to attack another's Jargon as being a bit excessive.


First post: GNS suxxorz! He says we're brain-damaged? Takes one to know one, bitch. Anyway, being stupid is fun, it's part of being a proper Cheetoist.

[Snark (3) attack vs GNS Persona Ron Edwards, Thread Heat Factor +1, current THF 1]

There are six Five Elements.  Is this unbelievable wit or a typo?

Wendell Darktoothe Gregory

Age: 24 (+0, -0)
Gateway: D&D
Mot: Victim
Theory: Stultzist Redaction Therapy

Jargon: 4
Obfuscate: 1
Predictions: 1
Snark: 1
Analysis: 3
Chutzpah: 1

(I'll post up my move on the morrow, it's too fucking late to play right now.)

Kyle Aaron:

--- Quote from: fonkaygarry ---There are six Five Elements.  Is this unbelievable wit or a typo?
--- End quote ---

You posted an Analysis Attack on the Theory Wars game's Theory of Cheetoism.  So that's Analysis (3) attack. Remember you have to put the move below your post in square brackets.

Wit, or typo? Decide for yourself. )


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