Posts

Initiation and Dedication

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Australian Indigenous initiation rites have always been mysterious to outsiders. Even this academic paper written in 1899 where the writer met with aboriginal people still conducting the ceremony had trouble ascertaining details of the event. (As an interesting aside, the rituals indicated in this paper occurred only a couple of hours drive away from where I currently live, so it's tempting to visit the sites referred to). Varying initiation rites have been recorded , but for the most part there has been over a century of elders being killed before knowledge could be passed from one generation to the next, children being stolen and indoctrinated into the ways of a new culture without the opportunity to learn the traditions of their people, and "complications" from government agencies if physical signs of initiation (such as lost teeth, missing finger joints, piercings, or scarification) were detected. Without the physical signs of initiation and dedication, or the passin

The Spirit World

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Here's where things get delicate. The fine line ensuring things are sensitive rather than a caricature is always going to be in a different place for different people. However, based on my discussions with various members of Indigenous communities over the years, a lot of this can be mitigated by ensuring everyone understands the way the game works, the narrative structure, and the way it attempts to development a liminal space in which communal storytelling occurs. That's a heavy start to a post, but if you've read through my How to Run a Game series it should make sense.  We're not trying to co-opt or appropriate the stories of the past, but to create new stories that reflect current issues and cultural morality standards. Walkabout doesn't critique the Indigenous culture, but draws inspiration from it, as well as considering the complexity of situations and how they might be impacted by a hypothetical situation. Our hypothetical situation is a blend of science,

Item Driven Narrative

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One of the things about post-apocalyptic stories is that you don't know what will be valuable, or what might drive the narrative. However, there are a few key things to consider when deciding what types of items might become more valuable. I've already mentioned the idea that useful items will probably play a significant role in the story, but quite often in post-apocalyptic stories the key items that have sentimental value. In Walkabout, one of the key ideas I had from the beginning was that trade only tends to occur on a local scale. Most settlements are generally self-sufficient, scavenging what they need from if they can't make it. However this limits available options. If a car needs tyres, and there's no more tyres of the right size, someone will need to modify the car to fit the tyres that are available. If someone wants a cup of coffee, and there's no more coffee around, there aren't many coffee plantations in Australia, and imports are no longer common.

The Stories behind Equipment

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  In Walkabout, I'm suggesting that a really nice stick might count as a piece of equipment, but so might a nomadic convoy rig filled with everything you need to survive weeks away from civilization. There is no way that these two pieces of equipment could be considered equivalent in power. What are the advantages of the stick...? You can poke someone with it. You can reach further with it. You can attach it to some string or line to make a trap or fishing line. You can use it to mix ingredients. What are the advantages of the nomadic convoy rig? You can shelter within it during inhospitable weather. You can get places more quickly. You can gather with several allies in relative safety. You are protected from gunfire while in it. You can grow crops in a hydroponics bay You have storage areas for other pieces of equipment  If might have a built in med-bay, or workshop. It may have it's own story and reputation. Those last few  in bold  are probably the important ones. So that ki

Differentiating the Apocalypse

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The core concept of Walkabout is "Mad Max meets Tank Girl, via the Aboriginal Dreaming". However different people will be getting different ideas from the notions of "Mad Max", "Tank Girl" and "Aboriginal Dreaming". The three concepts get us into a ball park, and the general ball park is where any of the two circles overlap, while the specifics is where all three overlap... Mad Max + Tank Girl A world where the technology of the past is decaying but still dangerous in the right hands. A world where a few people still hold most of the power by using a combination of charisma, fear-mongering, and lackeys who don't know better. Vast deserts, ecological disaster. Vehicles play an important and defining role in characters lives.  Tank Girl + Aboriginal Dreaming Talking animals (although in Tank Girl it's mostly the rippers). Things are rarely what they seem at the surface at first glance. There's a funny side to the events, and it's of

Looking back at the Life Paths

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One of the biggest issues I regularly face with game design is the idea of keeping people interested in what I've been doing, even though the design process is slow and interspersed between the regular activities of daily life. I've been working on the idea of refining the life path system, since I wrote about it in mid-June ... on and off, an hour or so here and there every day or two...so maybe a dozen hours in total. Developing a structure, coming up with ideas to populate the tables, crowdsourcing ideas on various social media platforms, getting frustrated when only a couple of people respond, redeveloping structures based on new ideas... then looking back at that post from June and seeing that the structure has basically moved full circle, but maybe been refined a bit. Still not happy to publicly show what that bit of the game is like, but we're moving closer? Still, in the purposes of showing where things seem to be heading at this time, he's a list of the general