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Thread: Mer RPGs?

  1. #21
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
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    Just posted again. This is fun, but I really don't have any experience with RPGs. I'm kinda hesitant when writing because I don't want to say things that have huge consequences for the entire world of the RPG. Like, if I write that my character casts a spell, now magic exists in the story. I don't feel comfortable making such huge decisions about the world when I'm really inexperienced with role playing games. Can we come up with some basic facts about the world to give something to work with? Or maybe I should wait until more people join so I can follow their lead.

  2. #22
    I think you are doing a great job so far! Thanks for participating! I personally tend to lean more towards a sci-fi type RPG, but I do like the idea of magic existing in our world too.

    I think what I was going for was something like an RPG to represent the part of our real world that we can't live in because we aren't physically able to. That's how I like to think about it anyways. Maybe I could write up a little something to get into more detail about it or something.

    I would love for more people to join too! It would make it pretty interesting!

  3. #23
    Ok, after reading Courtney's RPG and the conflict about whether merfolk are shapeshifters, I have a suggestion as a happy medium as far as magic and spells go... how about spells (chanted, gestured, manifestations of power) don't work, but artifacts (tridents, pearls, magic caps, belts, sealskins, necklaces, crowns/tiaras, and potions) do work. The exact mechanism of the artifacts is up to debate... maybe they're magic, but they might be advanced Atlantean technology, too. Clarke's 3rd law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," could very easily come into play here, particularly if the items in question are limited (it took the ancient Atlanteans to create them, and the secret's been lost, maybe, or it takes time and a skilled smith/"technician" to construct). Also, artifact or potion use tends to be a bit more free form and less rule-heavy than spellcasting. That way we don't have gods or wizards or werewolves who happen to live under water and instead have something a little more faithful to actual legends... and to the Little Mermaid (after all in Anderson's version, the Sea Witch uses a potion to transform the Little Mermaid). The materials could be corals, pearls, mother-of-pearl, shells, glass, chitin, crystal, or possibly minerals or metals that can only be forged in deep sea vents, or even water solidified by some means (like the water blades wielded by the Blue in Fathom). My only concern with that is that it lacks an explanation for siren songs... unless the songs themselves are just beautiful without any inherent property for magical compulsion to lure humans closer... unless the music is some sort of magic (which might or might not leave mermen at a disadvantage, unless they share the musical magic despite the vocal differences, or if they have some other power, like causing fear or venomous spines or electricity-generating organs like eels and skates, or some sort of camouflage, maybe). Then that raises the question... does weather control fall under artifact powers or musical ones? And can merfolk communicate telepathically or are their songs their true communication (and if the latter, does it work underwater as well as above)?

  4. #24
    Oh, and malinghi, I think you're worrying a bit too much. Yeah, we do need to hammer down the details of what is and isn't possible, but remember that roleplaying is really just about using your imagination with others to act out a story... it is basically make-believe with a little more structure. I think you're just concerned about the structure part, since Courtneymermaid did generously leave much of the background open in order to mimic our own real-world situation as mers from various parts of the world, with various backgrounds and interests. The downside, as you've pointed out, is that leaving it open like that does "muddy the waters" a bit. Just relax, and follow the Wiccan Rede (An' it harm none, do what you will) and you and your "character" should be fine.

  5. #25
    Faery: Legends of Avalon is a neat game for the PC or Xbox or PS3 (often via download rather than store-buying) where you get to play as a faery (male or female, you have pretty open choice of what your character's appearance is, and each time you level you gain access to additional features, such as dragonfly, butterfly or feathered wings, various tails, antennae, tattoos, horns, lights and magical energy effects, each with a different power that your character can use thereafter). Your choices in the game (politeness to different characters and whether you opt to pursue combat to solve problems, or go for the more roundabout manners of curing or placating enemies of their corruption) do have an effect, and the different worlds (Avalon, Yggdrasil, the Flying Dutchman, and the City of Mirages) are pretty impressive, as is the freedom of flight available to your characters. There are some spelling errors, many of the quests involve locating objects and returning them to the necessary characters, the lack of voice actors is noticeable and missed, and the fights are fairly easy. That said, it is also easy to gain experience, and therefore improve your characters. While you don't get to play as mermaids, you do get to befriend one in Avalon (and she helps you complete quests) and you can combat corrupted ones in the waters around the Flying Dutchman. So the game is a good choice for fairy enthusiasts, but others tend to be more unforgiving.

    Zanzarah: the Hidden Portal, offers creature-of-the-black-lagoon/merrow/sea-sprite fairies (including a few from the very beginning of the game), though the game itself resembles pokemon for fairies (in this game, fairies are any diminutive creature with some elemental or magical affinity, which can be caught in orbs), though none of them actually have tails instead of legs (a few seem to have tails in addition to legs, or wings that resemble fish flukes, though).

    Also, the first Breath of Fire game features a whole underwater city with people who have entire fish (tails and all) for heads, and who can become giant fish thanks to a magic item in the game, including one of the characters who join your team (a merchant named Gobi), as well as naga-like sorceresses, though to my recollection, mermaids didn't make an appearance in any of the Breath of Fire games other than as monsters, possibly.

    Similarly, mermen did appear as monsters in Legend of Dragoon, and the bearer of the water dragon spirit in that game is a young dancing girl named Meru, with bluish-silver hair and strange eyes who is actually a member of another species.

  6. #26
    Vampire: The Requiem has a faction of vampires known as the Circle of the Crone, who are all pagan or neopagan, and believe that creation is a divine act (even for vampires) and that trials, tribulations and difficulties make one stronger. The book about this group includes a bloodline of vampires known as the Mara, who dwell underwater, revere a drowned goddess who was mother of the waters, and who was killed by the jealous sun god (hence vampiric weakness to the sun) and have strong clan ties in Copenhagen (home to Andersen's little mermaid statue) and may have inspired stories of nixies and the mersey mermaid. They are mockingly referred to as "lampreys" by the other vampires, and though they are fairly widespread, and have powers for stealth, resilience, animal communication and shapeshifting (into animals, water, mist, etc) in addition to the Circle of the Crone's blood magic, they need to feed on humans when they are fully submerged (or else the blood magically turns to water in their stomachs and they cannot keep it down). They are often feral and averse to contact with other vampires (even other members of the Circle of the Crone) and they recruit from humans who are similarly reclusive or have a tie to or a yearning for the waters.

  7. #27
    Here's a walkthrough for Faery: Legends of Avalon. Around 8:00 into the clip, they finally get around to summoning Manon the Mermaid with a Conch (which the player seems to think is pronounced ConCH and not ConK)

  8. #28
    To be clear, there are several kinds of RPGs, or role-playing games, out there.

    1. Pencil and Paper RPGs, the kind that use imagination and character sheets and some means of measuring chance (dice, cards, etc) to tell a story with a group of friends, such as Dungeons & Dragons or Werewolf: the Apocalypse. It is possible to play this games online, but without that atmosphere of friends and family playing together, it really doesn't last well, and the effort that goes into character creation and gameplay doesn't have the chance to shine. Tokens and maps and grids for movement might be used as well as character miniatures (and yes, I do have a mermaid mini, though I'm still looking for a good merman figure). These games can vary in nature from story- or rules- heavy, to child-appropriate to adult content, to action, mystery, adventure or social aspects, and are probably the most flexible kinds of RPGs.

    2. Computer RPGs, such as Wizardry 8 or the Might and Magic games, which use high tech graphics and character creation designs to really make some impressive character options. However, these games are played alone.

    3. Console RPGs are similar to Computer RPGs, except that they are played alone on a video game system such as a PS3, XBox, or Wii. These games often have more simplistic character designs, given the limits of the few buttons on a controller, compared to a computer keyboard, but this is changing in recent years.

    4. MMORPGs, or MMO's, also known as Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs, are computer (or sometimes console) games that have an online community playing together, notably World of Warcraft, Everquest, City of Heroes, and DC Universe Online. Most of the time, if a choice is available, taking the computer version is the better choice (it is harder to communicate without a keyboard). Some of these are incredibly popular, but also incredibly addictive if you don't pace yourself and set timers and enforce them.

    5. Message Board RPGs, such as the Aegir's Cove rpg I made in this website, or Courtney's Underwater Tales one, rely on writing skill rather than in-depth character creation found in pencil-and-paper or the visual design of computer or video game rpgs or MMOs.

    6. LARPing, or Live Action Role-Playing, is a fun alternative to sitting at your computer, console or table top, instead designing costumes and going out and acting out the game with friends. I am a little fuzzy on how the rules translate (hand signals, beanbags, and tokens are involved, but I have little experience with LARPs).

    7. Some Board Games have RPG features, though character creation is usually fairly restricted. Sometimes only character class/role/job is the only feature, though some of these, such as Forbidden Island, or Key to the Kingdom, can be a lot of fun.

    8. Card games such as Magic: the Gathering, Magi Nation, Once Upon A Time (not related to the ABC show), Anima: Shadow of Omega can have some roleplaying elements (in Magic, for instance, you are supposedly a powerful Planewalker, or Wizard, who has the power to summon various creatures or cast spells by tapping the magic of different terrain features).

    9. Every time someone defines what an RPG is, someone else tends to come up with some game that breaks that definition to itty bitty pieces.

  9. #29
    I'm most familiar with 1, 3, and 5. I'm currently running a Pathfinder campaign (a number 1). No Mer characters (yet).

    Alveric

  10. #30
    Pathfinder looks like it is made of awesome, though I've yet to find anyone to play with. Any fantasy game with a "flight" skill has to be doing something right.

    Come to think of it, a mer bloodline for sorcerers might be an interesting twist (maybe emphasis on charm/enchantment magic and water elemental spells, with increasing scales and fins and gills) to the class.

  11. #31
    Pathfinder is just D&D 3.0 with some very good and thoughtful improvements that make the game more user-friendly.

    There is a lot of potential for underwater campaigns. The beastiaries have dozens of aquatic beings. Player characters can be Merfolk. All character classes are open to them. They're basically humans with tails; very fast in water, very slow on land, able to breathe water or air.

    Alveric

  12. #32
    Senior Member Euro Pod Azurin Luna's Avatar
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    I did a short underwater compaign in D&D 3.5, though all the participants got turned into sea creatures instead of mermaids. They had to save the mermaids and the sea elves in their unusual form, which let to some very funny moments.
    Your imagination is your only limit

  13. #33
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
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    Okay, so I was disappointed that the whole mer-RPG thing didn't take off. The awesome forum that Courtney made doesn't appear to be active right now, but I think RPG's have potential- the whole idea just needs to be promoted more. I want to make a thread to start finding out who would be interested in participating in some RPG stuff, either on a forum or possibly as a tabletop game played through a group videochat program. I'm going to make a separate thread for it soon, but I wanted to ask people about it here before I did. What do you think?

  14. #34
    I am always up for RPGing, and the only reason I haven't promoted either Aegir's Cove on here, or Courtney's Underwater Tales is because I don't want to bother people and come off as a broken record (and even then, I was pushing it, though nobody complained).

    I think we have a wide variety of personalities and interests (even within the general category of merfolk: folklore/myth, movies/pop culture, art, tailmaking, tail performing, casual recreation tail swimming, etc). This would make for a very interesting mer rpg with some cool characters, but it also means that each type is looking for something different, and some of them might not consider a game based on quick judgments. I think it is definitely worth a try, because if we pull it off, it'll be a lot of fun, but as Underwater Tales and Aegir's Cove have proven, it needs to intrigue players/viewers (which might mean making it less complex for some and more complex for others). If you want any help with it, I'd be happy to do what I can, though

  15. #35
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
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    This would make for a very interesting mer rpg with some cool characters, but it also means that each type is looking for something different, and some of them might not consider a game based on quick judgments.
    Yeah, I think it would be really interesting that different people fantasize about being born a merfolk, while others imagine becoming one, and some people use magic as a form of suspended disbelief, while others use science fiction. I think the RPG could allow for all these things, and try to avoid having to tell someone that their personal take on a mermaid is against the rules of the world we've created.

    One aspect that I can imagine some conflict though, is whether they can transform into humans and vice versa. Personally I'm okay with version where its possible to transform but not easy and routine (like in TLM, as opposed to all the versions where they get legs while dry). I think versions where they can easily become human is kinda lame, cause then there's not much drawback to the whole thing. But we could find ways around this conflict, like having some people own an artifact that lets them transform.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by malinghi View Post
    Yeah, I think it would be really interesting that different people fantasize about being born a merfolk, while others imagine becoming one, and some people use magic as a form of suspended disbelief, while others use science fiction. I think the RPG could allow for all these things, and try to avoid having to tell someone that their personal take on a mermaid is against the rules of the world we've created.

    One aspect that I can imagine some conflict though, is whether they can transform into humans and vice versa. Personally I'm okay with version where its possible to transform but not easy and routine (like in TLM, as opposed to all the versions where they get legs while dry). I think versions where they can easily become human is kinda lame, cause then there's not much drawback to the whole thing. But we could find ways around this conflict, like having some people own an artifact that lets them transform.
    Hmm... Malinghi, have you seen my proposed character for Underwater Tales? Or the ones for Aegir's Cove? What did you think of them? I was leaning towards "Martin" from Underwater Tales being unable to transform, but casual transformation is part of the story in Aegir's Cove. In Underwater Tales, however, Courtney left a space for "species"... maybe some species of mers can transform to humans, some used to be humans, some were born mers, and some do not shapeshift? Or maybe transformation requires some combination of elements to happen (bathe in the sacred/atlanteantech grotto at the exact instant of the start of the full moon and remain human for the three days of the full moon, maybe?)

  17. #37
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
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    Hmm... Malinghi, have you seen my proposed character for Underwater Tales? Or the ones for Aegir's Cove? What did you think of them? I was leaning towards "Martin" from Underwater Tales being unable to transform, but casual transformation is part of the story in Aegir's Cove. In Underwater Tales, however, Courtney left a space for "species"... maybe some species of mers can transform to humans, some used to be humans, some were born mers, and some do not shapeshift?
    I think the underwater tales RPG is supposed to be really open ended. I don't think there's a correct answer to whether they can transform or not. I think when Courtney made her own character she was able to transform.

  18. #38
    Here's my latest fantasy rpg on teennick.com. It basically is taken from elements of the Otherkin, Lost Girl, Grimm, Changeling, etc, but allows for any sort of mythical creatures whose spirits have been incarnated in human form in a suburb called Faraway (near Bremen University, which has excellent music and veterinary programs). These "Otherkind" secretly possess superhuman abilities related to their species, along with magic spells, talismanic artifacts, and a flaw that serves as a limitation of Tell (such as needing to be submerged in water for a significant portion of each day, having to obey anyone who captures their sealskin, etc) and they can assume their true form only in spiritual battles in an astral "Hunting Grounds". They are divided into types, such as Weres, Undead, Folk, Beasties, Hybrids, Spirits, Sorcerers, or Humans (not actually Otherkind, but in the know nevertheless), which grant particular benefits according to the basic body shape or nature of the creature (so, Mermaids and tritons fall under "hybrids," kelpies and hippocampi and sea serpents and kraken under "Beasties," water elementals under "Spirits," Selkies under "Weres", etc)

    http://community.teennick.com/Discus...category=52940
    Last edited by Joy&RaptorsUnrestrained!; 02-05-2012 at 03:27 PM. Reason: forgot to add the link

  19. #39
    I'm still interested. I didn't take part in the one game, because I'm not very photogenic and a picture seemed to be required.

    I'm so unfamiliar about on-line RPG's, I was waiting for another to start so I could see how it worked before I joined.

    Alveric

    (Glad to see the bugs in Mernetwork seem to be overcome.)

  20. #40
    I vote yes, though I'm slow to get into something once I am I'm dedicated. I like the idea of like a tabletop skype group, could I suggest The World of Darkness? I created a creature similar to a mermaid in there easily and there is so much versatility in the world it's astounding.

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