2. The RPG

RULES

Most role-playing game books have a section devoted to their rules system, which in Incorporeal is regarded as a system for reality simulation. It is important to explain that simulation here is not viewed under the GNS Theory perspective for simulationism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory) or in the Brazilian common use of the word “simulation” in the sense of an attempt to deceive someone (“he seemed to be a good person, simulating the actions of a decent and competent lawyer”). Simulation here is understood in the sense of a model, a way of representing events in the game world and deciding their outcome. Be these events random or caused by the actions of players’ characters of GM´s characters. In Brazilian dictionaries a simulation is defined as an analogous representation of something (“analogous representation: experience or reenactment in which the models behave in an analogous form to reality”). About the related terms “simulacra: 2. Action simulated for exercise or experience”; and “simulate:2. Represent with similarity, to look like” [New Aurelio Dictionary. Ed. Nova Fronteira, 1995]. This previous explanation was necessary to present the context in which the term “simulation” is understood in the Brazilian context.
In resume: The rules system in Incorporeal aims to assist players and GMs towards representing the occurrence of events (fights, spells, stealth etc) and their outcomes in the narratives created, regardless of their style of play. From the designers perspective the rules system of Incorporeal does lean towards the Narrativist and Simulationist styles of play for RPGs as defined in the GNS model.
We understand that the simulations we create are limited by our perceptions and that language itself is a model to attempt to comprehend and express reality. We must bear in mind then that a system to manage the occurrence and resolution of events is a model, a possibility, not the definite way of addressing the question, must less a perfect representation of reality itself. Perhaps the model is a way of presenting one reality, if we choose to let go of the notion of one, absolute and unattainable Reality.
The systematic perspective that guided the construction of the rules system of this RPG draw its inspiration from the martial art system developed and perfected by the Moy Yat clan of the Ving Tsun kung fu style. This martial art style is believed to have originated in China in the XVIII century during the rebellion against Manchu rule. The rebellion caused the destruction of the Sao-Lin monastery. The development of this kung-fu style is attributed to the Yim Ving Tsun, a peasant girl that lived in the countryside. Yim Ving-Tsun would have perfected the fighting style that she learned from the monk Ng Mui, a brave woman who was one of the few survivors of the Sao-Lin monastery. These teachings were passed along through many generations until they reached Yip Man, master of Bruce Lee and Moy Yat. The latter developed the Moy Yat Ving Tsun system, a teaching method that is flexible and easily adaptable to western culture, but that at the same time preserves the original teachings [Moy Yat Ving Tsun]
The Incorporeal System has two basic elements: the random component and the defined component. The random component is achieved rolling 1 to 3 six-sided dices (D6) and adding the results of each dice. This represents serendipity, the probabilities that mark the range between failure and success in an attempt to do something. The defined component consists in the parameters and characteristics that were defined during character creation.
The Actions Resolution Table compares both components. The random component provides a numeric result and the defined component indicates the column in which a qualitative outcome can be observed indicating what level of performance a character with that level of skill has achieved with that dice roll result. This information allows the interactors (players and GM) to determine if the intended action was successful or not.
The characters are created based on profiles that define the competencies that they must develop along a series of learning levels. The profiles available vary in accordance with the gaming scenario.
Phillpe Perrenoud presents the concept of competence as “a capacity to act efficiently in a determined type of situation, using acquired knowledge but not limiting oneself to it.” Competencies, therefore, are mental operations that articulate and mobilize the skills and knowledge in relation with the behavior and attitude of a person in a given situation. In short: when and how to use what. The skills are the abilities to apply knowledge to practical situations, meaning how to use what; and the knowledge is characterized by the acquisition of information in several sources and a thinking that results in “know-how” or in a comprehension of something, whether concrete or abstract. Knowledge then is what to use to accomplish something.
Together, competencies, skills and knowledge are the parameters that create the defined component of the system present in character creation and development.
The player-characters (PC), conceived and represented by the interactors, are considered the main characters in the plot of the narratives. The non-player characters (NPC), controlled by the game master, may occupy the roles of antagonists, collaborators or even be neutral to the PCs in the plot. Actually, depending on the PCs actions, a NPC may even switch roles, going from antagonist to ally, for example.
All characters are created and registered in a Character Sheet in accordance with the rules system that follow the steps of Concept, choice of Parameters and Characteristics and, if that is the case, experience points to start playing with an experienced PC.
Concept is a vital step in Incorporeal and must be registered in some form be it written, visual, scenic, musical, two or more combined, whatever. This material should be included in the RPG supports.

There are, so far, three kinds of Incorporeal Rules System: Fast, Basic and Advanced. The Fast version is the one used for one time short RPG sessions such as in presentations and workshops and is available on the settings’ blogs and in the Applications page. It’s the one you’ll find on the sketchbooks attached to the character sheet to guide the Action Solving whcich are distributed during the workshop sessions. The Basic version is the one used in classes, long term workshops and research projects. The Advanced version is the one used by experienced roleplayers mainly for entertainment. The complete Incorporeal Basic Rules System can be downloaded as ready to print PDF file: http://www.historias.interativas.nom.br/incorporais/pdfs/incorporealbasic.pdf
The Incorporeal Advanced is under translation.

SETTINGS

Brazilian RPGs use the term “ambientação” which is a neologism in Brazilian Portuguese that could be roughly translated as “environment for the action” or “action environment”, which comprises:  the main geography and history of the place; the cultural background of the place; the presence or not of magic, non-human beings, monsters; the main associations and persons of importance there (at least in an outline). In sum, all that the players need to know to understand the environment in which their characters will exist and act.

To make things easier we´ll translate “ambientação” as “setting” with the understanding that here “setting” include the historical, cultural, geographical, political and magical aspects of the scenario in which the players will create their characters and stories.

If we try to draw a parallel with theater we can say that an RPG offers a setting instead of complete stories. In this setting the players will collectively create their own stories and characters. These are possibilities that come to life in each moment of a game that emphasizes the multiplicity of stimuli and the dilution of the frontiers between author and receptor.

The setting in Incorporeal RPG is much more a point of view about a world than the world itself. A point of view that that intends to offer the open possibilities of a multiple space where the relationships that create meaning can be studied and debated. This way, one can simply apply new points of view to pre-existing worlds or develop entirely new settings.

All the settings of Incorporeal are conceived based in the concept of fantasy as proposed by JRR Tolkien, in which an imaginary world is created with consistence of reality.

 

Witchcraft Tales

[http://historias.interativas.nom.br/witchcrafttales/]

Is a scenario based on 19th-century Brazil, inspired by the fictional characters of the Brazillian writer Machado de Assis, his historical and literary contemporaries and elements of the Victorian age. It is a world permeated by Brazillian fantastic realism with secret societies, sorcery cabals, supernatural creatures and legends, all side by side with a fascination for Science and progress. In this reality, based on the historical Brazillian monarchy, the narrative elements and characters of Machado de Assis’ works encounter figures such as Aleister Crowley, Tolstói, Masters Mason, João do Rio, Lawrence of Arabia, Annie Besant, Rui Barbosa and many other personalities that compose this eccentric universe.
This setting was developed by the Cia Imperial Ludica, founded in 1808 and re-founded in 2012. Its mission is to create, experiment and research games, disseminate ludic ideas and distract he court and its subjects to free them from the yokes of boredom and sadness.

 

 

Marked Cards

Fight girl, but don´t forget to be pretty. Be handsome, but don´t forget to fight.

Like RPG, Tarot is a game of symbolisms that express figures of the western imaginary. Like RPG, Tarot is an open game of interpretation. But, like any language product, both tend to crystallize in stereotypical images. So, remembering that the Tarot cards change meaning when inverted, the challenge of this scenario is to transgress the “closure” of the playing cards: myths and clichés of male and female representation.

This setting is a semiological point of view for contemporary and futuristic fictional worlds that questions, through parallels with Tarot, myths of female and male representation. It is presented through simulations of printed media with fictional content.

Baroque  Brazil

A game of light and shadows.

Brazil Baroque is an Incorporeal setting that bends time to search the entrails of the past, in search of fragments that allows us to rebuild past and present in accordance with our desires and fantasies. Therefore, this is not a book about History, but a book about making stories, his or hers, between the heaven and hell of colonization, in an environment of divine art and torturing prejudices.

The setting is based in Colonial Brazil, in the baroque period of 1650 to 1720, narrated by two different points of view: of the book Cultura e Opulência do Brasil por suas Drogas e Minas (Culture and Opulence of Brazil through its Drugs and Mines), by the catholic priest Father João Antonil (1711); and the book of notes and diary of the artisan Maria do Rosario Menezes, a fictional character. A third textual form, descriptive, is used to present information about rules for character creation.

Antonil´s treaty presents the setting under an “official” and universal point of view legitimized by its publication in Portugal, scientific but with a religious morality that speaks of a paradisiacal nature; the artisan´s text presents the setting under a “marginal” and fragmented point of view, bringing the beginnings of the modern subject that starts to question and sign her works. The first character is historical, the second is fictional. He is catholic priest, a white European man: the synthesis of the patriarchal order; she is a mulatto, a crossbreed that dares to be an artisan and question established faith and prefer science: a fragment of chaos.

 

Muiraquitã: the survival of the Legends

Setting based in the transversal theme of Environmental Protection, won third place at the IV PUC-Rio/Petrobrás Show Prize in August of 2007. The setting is a contemporary Brazil with touches of fantasy, where folkloric magical beings such as Curupira, Iara, Boto and Saci fight to preserve their natural environments and our cultural memory.

The goal of this setting is to provide educators with a didactic object that allows them to work, in a ludic form, environmental awareness with their students in Brazilian public schools. And through the students, bring environmental awareness to their families and neighbors, motivating them to change old bad habits and to read and search information, mainly in areas with poor infrastructure and technological resources. This increased environmental conscience would facilitate the creation and implementation of campaigns to preserve water sources in urban environments, such as rivers and lakes, reducing the deposits of garbage in their margins and increasing their living conditions and environmental preservation.

 

Terra Nova

A point of view for settings inspired in a Tolkien like medieval fantasy, which aims to establish a relationship between the geographical colonization of a continent and its “symbolic” colonization. Therefore, Terra Nova (New Earth), the new continent, is a metaphor for the concept of “medieval fantasy” that developed in the Americas from the imaginary conceived by the British linguist JRR Tolkien: Terra Media (Middle Earth), the old continent that would be the representation of the origins of this concept of “medieval fantasy”.

This setting is presented both verbally in visually in the form a journal with the voyages of one character to suggest the sensation of a place that acquires consistency as it is explored

Mystical Age

Historical setting that allows the existence of certain fantastical elements present in the thinking of the time. Chronologically set between the First Crusade (1095 AD) and the Albigensian Crusade (1209 AD), its content will be presented in three levels of text: literary text (main), glosses and notes.

The literary text (literal meaning) will consist of a linear narrative in prose or verse from which links will be opened to explanative elements of the setting (symbolic sense): the glosses, that will make reference to an historical situation similar to the one described in the literary text (allegorical meaning); and the notes that will cite the classical model and reference for mythology or folklore (moral and spiritual or anagogical meaning).

Both the glosses and notes may also contain references to specific game aspects (characteristics and competencies for characters, action resolution, magic etc.) The literary texts reproduce excerpts of European literary productions (pseudo historical chronicles, chivalric romance, lais, songs of gesta or chansons de geste, songs of love, ballads etc.) dated from the XUU century and the beginning of the XIII century, period of the game setting.

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These are the settings that we are currently working with, they are in different stages of development. Feel free to bring your suggestions to improve them, characters and stories to enrich them or to create your own setting!

Some characters and events are proposed in this site and in the books, but we believe that is much more interesting if the interactors create their own characters and stories and that they interact with the books so these characters and stories will become part of them.

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Creative Commons License
Incorporais RPG by Grupo de Pesquisa Histórias Interativas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://historias.interativas.nom.br/incorporaisrpg/.

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