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Acropolis II - The People

 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:57 pm    Post subject: Acropolis II - The People Reply with quote

(work in progress)

Rules Version 2.3

Syl's E-Mail Address: djakfrost(AT)gmail(DOT)com
Note: The above address is to be used when submitting turn orders. Subject line must contain the word "Acropolis"

Being a God

It's good to be a god, and not just because being a mortal sucks. Theoretically, you live forever, the work isn't too hard, if you screw up you can just blame your high priest, and there's some perks - namely, wielding supernatural forces.

As a god, you have access to the Forum of the Gods. There you may converse (argue, same thing) with other gods.

The People are tribalist in nature - they revere all the gods, though generally only worship one. They, along with the high priest that serves only each particular god, are the source of all the gods' powers, either through their belief in the god's influence or through giving sacrifices to them.

Totems

The bad news is that there are no longer any domains. The good news is that means a god can do just about whatever it wants. Instead, each player chooses some natural aspect to be a god of -- be it an animal, a mountain, a river, or so forth. Ideally, a player's character and actions should reflect this choice.

However, this does not mean the player is that thing. The Raven god is not necessarily a raven, the god of the Muddy River is not the river. Not entirely, anyway, or not always. The totem is the player's connection to the world, his or her tribe's connection to their god.

What this does affect, though, is the tribe's locality. The God of Buffalo does not have a tribe living on the peaks of mountains and that kind of thing.

Keep in mind that any totem unaffiliated with a player can be and probably is an NPC.

Beginner's Immunity

New gods are granted three turns of immunity. During these turns, the character cannot be antagonized by other players (other than verbally in the Forum of the Gods).

This immunity is forfeit if the character willingly or through negligence antagonizes another character.

Divine Strength

Each deity's power is represented by their Divine Strength (DS). Divine Strength potentially goes from 1 (the lowest) to 15 (the highest). This rank signifies your power: each turn, you can divide these points as you see fit among the various situations, and the more points you put in each one, the more you are actively trying to influence its outcome. The pool of divine strength points (DSP) is replenished each turn, depending on your TSP (Tribe, Sacrifices, and Presence. more on those later). Describing how you attempt to influence the event also has an impact upon how successful you are.

Divine Strength Points and How To Use Them
You gain or lose divine strength based on the number in your tribe, your number of sacrifices (animal or material, though if you think you can get away with it, humans, too) performed the preceding month, and your presence (how real or important you seem to all The People). Each category can yield a max of five DSP, for a total of 15. There is such a thing as fractional DSP (FP), but a deity must use whole DSP for any action. The FP will merely be carried over until it becomes a whole DSP. Any whole DSP not used on a given turn will be forfeited.

To calculate your total DSP, add together your Tribe Strength Points (TP), Sacrifice Strength Points (SP), and Presence Strength Points (PP). Add to that any FP from your previous turn. The whole number will be your available DSP. Any number after the decimal point will be your new FP which may be donated to another player or carried over to your next turn.

All of this will be given in your turn results, so if you find this confusing or just don't want to do the math, don't worry.

There are no limits on what you can do with your DSP. You're a god, after all. Whatever your imagination allows.

Sacrifices

In order to gain your favor, The People sacrifice something of value to you. It could be livestock, fine incense, a slave (again, human sacrifice would be very tricky), or whatever you can imagine. But if you couldn't buy it at a market, you probably won't gain anything by sacrificing it. The value has to be material, and to be fair, the value will be measured in a material sense against the sacrifices of other gods. Basically, your essence cannot enter the material world without some material essence leaving it.

The ritual or attitudes of these petitioners is entirely up to you. Generally, however, the sacrifice must take place in one of your shrines.

The accumulation of this 'wealth' offered to you is usable by you as DSP. This is also the only whole DSP you can give or trade to another god.

Presence

Each deity starts with a Presence of .3 and can have a max Presence of 5.0. The lower end of the scale means the The People know of you, but they don't (yet) think much of you. The other end of the scale means they have complete faith in you and think you're everything a god should be.

The strength of your reputation says nothing about how they perceive you, however. A really wicked god and a really good one both could be 100%. This perception, though not affecting DSP gains, will have other effects, which could lead to schisms and stuff.

Tribe

You start the game with a tribe of approximately 300 men, women, and children. This is represented by your initial .3 TP. The more you add to your tribe, the higher your TP. Your TP maxes out at 1 per clan, 5 clans max.

Clans

Some tribes are too large to be served by a single high priest or live in a single encampment. When this happens, a tribe needs to be divided into clans. While the arrangement and nomenclature of the clans is up to the player, it is highly recommended that the clans have some specific aspect of the tribe's totem. For example, the Bear Tribe may have Claw, Tooth, Cub, and Den clans.

A new clan is formed when a god spends 5 DSP to create one. This may be done on a payment plan, though DSP put towards this cannot be reclaimed and nothing is achieved until the final DSP is spent.

For every tribe formed, a god is allowed to name a new high priest.

High Priests

Every god needs sacrifices, and that means you need at least one person to take them. They're pretty important, so try to hold on to them. You need at least one for every clan. If a high priest dies, though, you simply name a new one.

High Priests are generally trained and/or aware enough to spend extended lengths of time in his or her god's holy place without fear of negative consequences.

They are also able to enter ecstatic states to converse with their god directly, travel between planes, and other mysterious stuff. They must do so carefully, however, because their physical body must be attended to and returned to eventually.


Realms

Due to the way the world was created or, more precisely, allowed to come into being, it is separated into three distinct but equally valid spheres, each with their own type of reality.

Crown - The top of the great tree, where branches first start to form, usually above the lowest clouds. Supra-reality, where many things take on idealized forms or appearances, where perfection is a matter of course.

Trunk - The area between crown and Roots, where the vast majority of mortals spend their lives. Normal reality, where everything is more or less as it appears to be (or can at least always be dealt with on such terms).

Roots - The area below ground, though the top where it meets the Trunk appears above ground, almost like a small, radial mountain chain. Sub-reality, where the truth behind things takes precedence, where metaphor takes shape.

When moving between realms, players should pay close attention to the transition, on how it is achieved and what is achieved by doing so. Moreover, the boundaries between realms are not always stable or definite, and many things have mirrors or representations in other realms. Players may move their characters freely between the realms (it does not cost any DSP by itself), but they may not do so frequently -- only once per turn per DSP action.

Per the Autarch's approval, each player is allowed to name and choose a holy place to serve as their conduit between realms. Actions that would normally fail the atheist test are a lot easier to achieve in a god's holy place. The most doubtful of mortals would ascribe the stories reported in holy places as a result of confusion or mania

Manifestations

Fully manifesting as you may be accustomed to in Pantheon or Aesir is practically impossible. The best you can probably hope for is appearing to a large number of your tribe in some kind of major religious ceremony.

On the other hand, every player should consider him- or herself a part of the world, occupying it in some way. In the upper and lower realms, gods can be fully, majestically corporeal in whatever forms they desire -- within reasonable limits, of course. No game-breaking forms, no doing something with your shape that would normally require DSP use, etc.

In the middle realm (Trunk), players must be more discrete. Since no god may violate any mortal's perception of normal reality (the Atheist Test, covered in the next section), a player cannot take a shape that proves he or she is a supernatural being.

If a player is an animal or plant of some kind, he or she may take the form of that object, more than likely appearing as an exemplar of the species, probably inspiring awe and reverence in anyone who observed it. In fact, gods can take whatever shape they please, though they may want to be cautious not to take one that another player directly controls. If a player choosing a living form in Trunk is killed or captured, the god simply assumes another form the next turn (whatever remnants remaining of their previous form either disappearing or becoming a lifeless husk).

Gods may take the form of humans if they desire, though since the Atheist Test still applies, their true nature must always be disguised. They can speak cryptically or suggestively, but they cannot act as their own mouthpiece. And while it is not forbidden, it is highly suggested that they avoid directly interacting with their own high priest (hard to get anything done when the guy is fawning all over you or cowering in fear because he thinks he recognizes you in that form).

Similarly, a god may possess a mortal. He or she may take direct control of the mortal or just look out through its eyes (or any combination of the two). Considering the Atheist Test, however, the more direct control taken, the higher the risk.

Another option is the disembodied spirit. It should be understood, however, that the god still has a location even if they do not have a physical representation in it.

Human Contact

Possibly the biggest difference in this version of Acropolis is that there will be very little direct contact with mortals. Players are simply too real to step into the world directly. Even the lightest touch of a god's presence on a mortal mind would likely destroy it.

Some few mortals may look at this is the gods not being real at all, but most simply intuit the gods' presence on a fundamental, unshakeable level. Anyone voicing such atheistic thoughts would be considered insane.

This applies to high priests as well. They are only mortals who have been highly trained in their god's mysteries. They see the signs of their god in the mortal world, they can interpret their dreams or especially strong dreams of others to suss out messages from their god, and they have the very specialized knowledge of how to enter trances and/or leave their physical bodies behind to communicate beyond the mortal realm (usually a dangerous undertaking).

Human Faith

One thing a god cannot do is prove his existence. While people consider atheists insane, atheism must always be an option. Any god who proves his existence becomes a known entity, incapable of controlling his own actions (and thus, probably out of the game as that character).

Every action a god takes in the mortal realm (Trunk) must have a natural explanation, however unprobable. Actions should be considered under the 'atheist test' -- would a reasonably sane man know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something supernatural just occurred? Players at risk of failing this test will be warned before results are final.

Human Free Will

One of the most important rules to keep in mind, which goes hand in hand with the Atheist Test, is that you cannot dictate the inner workings of human minds. Sure, you can turn them into a newt, but you can't make them like it. You're more than welcome to say what you want or expect them to feel or do in any given situation, and most of the time it will probably work that way. Sometimes it won't, though.

Perhaps more importantly, remember that you are playing a god, not mortals. Dictate what you do and everything will be fine. You can make up and post stories about things from the mortals' perspective in Stories of the People

Deicide and Resurrection

You're immortal. You can't die, but that is not to say that worse things can't happen to you.

Nullification
While no god can die, this does not mean there aren't ways of disposing of him. Those ways are so far unknown, but it involves the god being locked away somehow, unable to exert power on The People.

Any god who goes inactive or is nullified can come back to the game eventually, nullification probably taking longer than the other. Also, any player who finds themselves in one of those situations may choose to play a new god instead.

Monthly and Feast Day Patrons

A deity can choose to exert two DSP to establish a feast day (holy day, holiday, etc.). Sacrifices to a god on this day could total the number a god receives in a month alone, and things generally go much better for a god on this day. This is also a day your entire tribe can spend on your holy place without fear of bad things happening to them. For four more DSP, this is turned into your holy month, the pinnacle of which is the feast day, but the feast day must be established first.

The People follow a lunar calendar of exactly 28 days a month, twelve months a year.

You cannot declare either in the month in which your submitted turn takes place.

Mythic Time

For the same DSP required of a similar action in present game time, a god may choose to state an action he or she took in some part of the world's early past. It cannot alter the known history or change the results of any player's previous turns, but it does not necessarily need to make perfect sense. ["If Blopadar had spider-eating, flying monkeys, why didn't he use them when the Spider Queen attacked him last turn." I guess because he forgot?].

The advantage of this is that in the very early days, the rules weren't quite set. Especially during the big war, the atheist test would have been pointless. It could also retcon the player's history to flesh out his or her background, provide depth, etc. Basically, it allows you to do some of the big bad stuff in or involving the mortal plane as you may be used to in other games while keeping the world intact.

If taking advantage of this, be sure to make it clear in your turn submission. It's your responsibility to make sure there are no kinks to the history. You may not combine mythic time actions with game time actions in the same submission. If something in the forum needs to be edited to reflect this, it is your responsibility to let me know.

Artifacts

Deities can imbue any object with magic for whatever purpose, but its power will fade at the end of the month. In order to create an object of lasting effect, a major artifact, five times the amount of DSP must be put into it. If the object is living in any sense, the the magic will fade in nine months. If not, one year.

If, however, you want an object to do something that would normally require DSP but you just don't want to spend it all in one turn, you can create a lesser artifact. For example, a god could give his high priest a medicine pouch, the use of which could bring a man back from the brink of death. Once it's used the item is worthless (unless recharged with DSP), but until then... This costs no additional DSP to do, but will require some creativity on your part (nothing monumental, but you have to sell me on it). Any attempt to game the system or throw things off balance with this will be punished.

Investment

Broadly speaking, investment refers to exerting your power on or into something. When used more specifically, however, investment takes on a different meaning. If you directly and explicitly control a person (like a high priest), place (like your holy place), or thing (like an artifact), you can put your power into it. In general, this is less effective than a major artifact, but more lasting than a lesser artifact. Unlike a major artifact, there is no set duration. And while it's not one use only like a minor artifact, rely on it too much and it loses its efficacy.


Extra-territoriality

The map as described should be considered your stage, but do not let this dissuade you from performing actions off stage, so to speak. Things will come at The People from outside, so it's only fair to let you venture outside. You can trade, war, quest, and so on. Just keep in mind that what occurs on stage is more important and more permanent.

Oaths and Consequences

Most gods lie. Some of them lie a lot. I hold no responsibility, though if any try to pull the wool over my eyes... *shakes fist menacingly*

Turn Submissions and Turn Results

Submissions are due, via email, the first of every month. Submitting early is fine, so long as you do not submit before I have the results out for the previous turn. However, excessive revisions may be punished or disallowed, so keep that in mind.

Since I do not process until the first full week's end, there is a significant grace period, but this does not change the deadline. Submit your turns on time, and we won't have any problems. No huge deal if you're a little past deadline, but the longer it is, the more likely things are to go badly for you. Don't submit by the time I send out results and you miss your turn.

Also, I will not answer any privately submitted questions about what things may or may not be permissable, how something works, or so forth after the deadline. This is an issue of fairness to other players as well as incentive to do your planning before the deadline. I will answer public questions to clear up rules and game mechanics, but things that might pertain to particular situations may be vague. Similarly, I will not reply to a submission that comes in after the deadline if something you're trying to do does not work, probably giving you unexpected results and/or lost DSP.

Suggested form of submissions:

    Acropolis - [character] - Turn [x]

    State where you are and what form you're in ("same as last" is acceptable). State what you do. State the intended result of your actions (your tribe gaining some characteristic or ability falls under this category)

    Summarize DSP use towards what (recommend specifying the stat you expect to increase, if any)

    Summarize your holdings. Highlight or place an asterisk by any you think are relevant to your actions this turn.

I want all submissions in the first person perspective of your character only

Imagine you're giving your boss a report, detailing the who, what, when, where, why, and how of whatever you've been up to that day. You won't be that far off. Wink

Generis, God of Lichen, wrote:
I assume my human form before entering my private dwelling in the Crown.

Using 1 DSP, I draw a deep breath, cup my hands and breathe into them, summoning the power to grant invisibility to the chosen hunters of my tribe. In the hunt or in battle, they will be able to blend into the scenery so none with ordinary vision will be able to discern them when they're still. I uncup my hands and release this power into the world.

With another DSP, I create a divine fire in front of me. I place the wet leaves of an oak tree atop the flames. As the leaves begin to smoke, I take a lichen-covered stone wrapped in rabbit fur and hold it in the smoke. As it absorbs the smoke, so too do my people gain the ability to move stealthily, wrapped in their camouflage.

Finally, I grant my high priest a vision, showing him how to choose these special hunters and how to train them in the ways of stealth. When their training is complete, they shall make a pre-dawn raid upon the Lemur tribe, enacting my revenge for their sacrilegious words about my sexual proclivities.

[2 DSP towards making my tribe unparalleled assassins]

Holdings:
High priest's ability to put listeners asleep by talking about rocks.
*Tribe's knowledge of superior obsidian weaponry
3 heavenly scribes


What you actually do for the "action" part of your submission isn't all that important and does not have to make perfect sense, but you, the character, actually have to do something to achieve something. Cause and effect, not just effect. In the example I gave, I tried to use totemic or representational magic forms, since those are the types of characters you're playing. You're welcome, even encouraged, to do it a different way.

Also, the descriptions I gave in the example are basically what I consider the bare minimum. You can go over and beyond that to your heart's content, so long as everything you tell me is more or less relevant and essential to processing your turn. Please be as detailed as you need to be to get the point across, but balance that with being concise. And when it comes to the desired result, try to be precise. If you tell me you want your tribe to be stronger, that could mean any number of things. If you tell me you want them to have bigger, more powerful muscles, it means just that.

Visions to your high priest (and high priest only) do not require the use of DSP. Keep in mind, though, that there's only so much you can convey that way. Highly detailed instructions or actual words that are longer than a sentence probably won't be remembered.

As a physical being somewhere in the world, you also have the power to act without using DSP. In the Trunk realm, you must choose some kind of natural form, but in Crown or Root you can be whatever you imagine. The only conditions are that you cannot take more than one form per turn without using DSP and you cannot use a form to accomplish something that would normally require DSP (for instance, you cannot assume the form of a viper to kill a rival god's high priest, and you cannot become a giant that shoots thunderbolts out his ass to destroy the castle walls of another god's residence).

Use the aforementioned address for submissions (top of page).

DSP use must be very clear (and bad math will be punished Wink). Please give as much detail as you feel necessary to get the information across, but remember that I do not need to be entertained. Summarize if at all possible.

Other Stuff

You are all gods of the same pantheon and are all related to one another in some way. You may notice I have used the word "antagonize" in place of "attack" a few times. The people don't necessarily expect you to work together, but if you work against each other, it's very bad to do so in a way that's detrimental to The People.

In fact, if you want to increase your DSP, it's almost a given that you'll help all mankind (though if you do it skillfully enough, your tribe more than others).

Competition against each other is still possible, encouraged, even, but you have to be less direct, more tricky about it.

As in Aesir, DSP cannot be given to another god carte blanche. I recommend you exchange services or sweet talk the other god to get something from them. The exceptions to this are Fractional DSP (FP) and Sacrifice DSP (SP). If this occurs frequently, though, expect to see a corresponding decrease or increase in Presence, and people offering sacrifices may start cutting out the middle man.

Another note is that I will be implementing a risk and reward system rather than using dice or other random event generators. Putting yourself in harm's way for a possible gain will get you stuff. If this is done with DSP, the yield will be greater than simple DSP expenditure alone. It could all go wrong, but fortune favors the bold.

There is no permanent DSP expenditure. Such actions have just been made more expensive to compensate.There are no non-DSP actions, though if you tell a good story in the public forum, The People will likely enjoy it and spread it amongst themselves.

Unless you spend DSP specifically on making something secret, there is no guarantee of secrecy. Even then, the veil can be penetrated with sufficient perceptive force. Of course, I will do my best to not reveal something another player wouldn't have a good reason for knowing, and it can help try to be sneaky about what you're doing.

All posts in the game thread need to be literary in format. No blockquotes. No emoticons. No abbreviations. I will go as far to say that the only emphases used should be bold or italic print and punctuation only where it is appropriate. It's a given that you're speaking, so quotation marks aren't necessary, though if you're also using narrative, please use them. A little draconian, perhaps (this really shouldn't surprise most of you), but I think it will end up adding much more to your styles.

Needless to say, everything posted in the game thread should be in character and in game. Things posted in the discussion thread are never considered in game, but any information publicly available is considered fair use by another player -- though the other player will need to posit some kind scenario, in the Stories of the People thread or elsewhere, explaining how they came to learn something they normally would have no reason to know.

I don't like cryptic hints. Never have. Anyone asking for one will receive one, and I guarantee they won't like it. I will, however, give cryptic hints out as rewards for forum activity. The more you post, the more I'll hint... or just get rewards out faster.

Only gods can post in the forum of the gods.

My PM box is always open, but please don't take advantage of that fact. If at all possible, ask here so that others can benefit.
_________________
"It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
-George Steiner


Last edited by [Syl] on Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:03 pm; edited 11 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This space reserved for Q&A
_________________
"It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
-George Steiner
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[Syl]
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Registration is now open. How you decide to tell your origin story is up to you, though you must work within the framework of the larger creation myth. Your physical form can be that of whatever you are the God of, or it can be entirely different, existing outside of it.

Same for your relation to the People. While you must have some kind of relationship, it can be loving, ambivalent, resentful, etc. It can take place over a couple of generations or a couple of days. Entirely up to you. Everyone starts at the same strength at about the 300th year since the creation of the World.

Origination must be done by the end of January. First turn must be submitted between Feb. 1 and Feb. 6.
_________________
"It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
-George Steiner
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