November 21, 2003

Skotos StoryBuilding on Social Gaming

by Andrew Stern · , 12:31 pm

More multiplayer madness coming at you… A new article about social gaming by Shannon Appelcline on Lots (er, tons) of articles to be found there.

I’ve yet to play any Skotos games/stories (see the FAQ’s for what it is). Their flagship games, “multiplayer prose roleplaying games,” sound interesting. How much does this community overlap with the text-adventure IF community?

Particularly impressive-sounding are the authoring tools for non-programmers. “A cornerstone of the Skotos community is the ability to create your own games. Our goal is to make it easy and intuitive for game designers and story tellers to share the ideas that live in their heads.” Can anyone share for us their experience creating and playing these games / stories?

4 Responses to “Skotos StoryBuilding on Social Gaming”

  1. Alan DeNiro Says:

    I had a post about Skotos about a year or so ago on r.a.i.f.:

    It was interesting, but I’m not sure it was ten dollars a month interesting.

  2. Rob Says:

    I played Marrach when it was in beta. Great fun. As Alan said, the community was the most unexpected and pleasurable component.

    At that point, the most anticipated event was audience with the royalty. The masters of the castle held the key to the mysteries of the world, so everyone wanted the opportunity to speak with them. The problem was, there would be one audience with a handful of members selected by the community. So in order to advance, you had to convince other players to support you, and select you as their representative.

    This was really interesting. There were no stats, numbers, or currencies in the game, no ‘objective’ measurement of one’s worth. Only others’ opinion of you. And your goal was to make them think of you highly enough to elect you for the audience, even though they were at the same time competing with you for the same position.

    Skotos also provided a number of interesting hooks on which to start growing your vine. The GMs would periodically introduce mysterious elements into the game, and seed groups dedicated to figuring them out. Also, a number of prop items were available around which people developed interest groups – such as fencing or magic students. Then a number of groups developed that did not require special items, going mainly in creative (theatre, poetry), and assistive directions (peacekeepers, guides).

    All in all, it was a fascinating experience: a multiplayer game with a highly elaborate (baroque? :) culture, where you advanced by being the most prominent in developing it further.

    It was the first and only time I’ve ever seen a gamespace like that (barring real life, of course :).

  3. Petter Rønningen Says:

    I played Castle Marrach and enjoyed it a lot. I eventually quit because the major part of the players were playing from the oposite side of the world (Mainly the US) and made social interraction impossible during my own daytime. I gladly payed the $10 a month the time I could endure staying up at night.

    This game is indeed a social puzzle game. It also encourages players to create plots and stories for both their own characters and for involving other characters.

    The base of this is simple: You do not know why you woke up in the castle. Noone knows, or does not want to tell you. So this starts the story of your own quest to find (or create) your identity.

    There are stats in this game, but they are not really aparent. For example: You know a language, so you can understand when people talk in that language. If they switch to a language you don’t understand, it will garble the conversation. The game engine takes care of it.

    I recomend to try it out.

  4. andrew Says:

    Shannon Applecline has recently posted two more articles in her series about multiplayer text-based story games — Competition, and Cooperation & Freeform.

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